[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]
[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets.]
[Personal information has been redacted.]
[The excerpt below is from the section of the article that pertains to the Baha’i Faith]
[Adapted from website:] Insaniyat - Human Rights Organization of Kurdistan [HROK]
[Date:] 7 Khordad 1388 [28 May 2009]
Message From the Human Rights Organization to the Kermanshah National Conference on the Right to Education
This evening, the fourth national meeting on the right to education was held in Kermanshah. Kaveh Ghasemi Kermanshahi, a senior member of the Human Rights Organization of Kurdistan, also attended the meeting and read a message from the Human Rights Organization of Kurdistan, the text of which is as follows:
Dear compatriots and fellow citizens,
Now that we are witnessing the holding of a series of national meetings in Kermanshah on the right to education by the Committee for Seeking the Right to Education of Baha’is and a group of human rights activists in Iran, we consider it necessary to hold a meeting in the name of the Human Rights Organization of Kurdistan for defending the human rights without any charity and motive, and protest against the violation of the rights of the Baha’i community in Iran, and consequently Kurdistan, which is specifically mentioned in the last statement of this organization addressed to the presidential candidates of Iran. While protesting again against the students’ deprivation of the right to continue their education in the higher educational institutions, we announce our support for your efforts to enroll at and to return to the university.
Undoubtedly, if we want to investigate the history of barring students from entering the university and their deprivation of education during the last three decades, we must look to the Baha’i community in Iran, whose followers, among other social deprivations, were among the first to face selective and exclusionary treatment, and many of them were denied the right to continue their studies in universities.
However, at that time and in the years that followed, the deprivation of education has not been limited to Baha’is alone, and many other dissidents and Iranian activists were also subject to this deprivation. The fact is that this trend has been applied to the believers in the Baha’i Faith with greater intensity and scope, and that only a very small number of them have been able to enter university and complete their education over the [last thirty] years.
Indeed, what could have alleviated the pain of these deprivations a little was the support of other segments of Iranian society, especially human rights defenders, who were, unfortunately, neglectful for years, and perhaps this silence and indifference exacerbated this pain. Fortunately, in recent years, with the spread of human rights discourse at the community level and the need to address and apply its concepts and principles by dissidents and activists, we witness that these taboos and human rights activists have broken the line in defence of the rights of Baha’i compatriots, including defending their right to education. For example, we can mention the holding of such ceremonies in the presence of non-Baha’i activists. Also, in an unprecedent move, for the first time after years of denial and repression, during the presidential election campaign, an advisor to one of the candidates referred to the Baha’is of Iran as Iranian citizens in his public speech and said that Baha’is, as citizens of Iran, have rights that the government must respect and recognize.
Certainly, such statements are the result of the efforts and resistance of the Baha’is themselves over the years, and on the other hand, the result of increasing sensitivities towards respect for human rights and citizenship rights, to the extent that it has forced the [presidential] candidates to acknowledge their citizenship rights, which can be hopeful.
Dear compatriots and fellow citizens, as you know, the issue of deprivation of education, which is the subject of this meeting, has increased significantly in recent years and during the Ninth Government—besides the Baha’is who have experienced thirty years of deprivation—many students have been identified and singled out for their political opinions and ideological beliefs and therefore suspended, expelled and deprived of the right to education. There are many cases. If we were to mention specific cases that have occurred during the last month, we can mention Hedayat Ghazali and Sabah Nasri, two Kurdish students of Allameh and Tehran Universities. Despite being in the final stage of their education, they did not continue their education according to the official orders of the university.
All of this is being done while no strong legal support can be found for them. Neither the internal regulations of the Education Assessment and Evaluation Organization nor the universities, which are in violation of the provisions of the Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, can justify the exclusion of Baha’is from university education, nor can the authorities’ irregular decisions and instrumental use of existing laws justify the criminalization of political students and suspension and expulsion of other students.
Unfortunately, what we have seen over the years regarding the issue of deprivation of education―and recently it has even increased―indicates the non-compliance with the international treaties that have been accepted by Iran and even the violation of domestic laws that are meant to facilitate education for all human beings and the country’s citizens and to provide the necessary facilities to continue their education at higher levels…
The Human Rights Organization of Kurdistan
7 Khordad 1388 [28 May 2009]