UN expresses concern about Iran's Baha'is

December 22, 2004

NEW YORK — For the 17th time since 1985, the United Nations General Assembly has passed a resolution expressing "serious concern" over the human rights situation in Iran, making specific mention of the ongoing persecution of the Baha'i community there.

The resolution, introduced by Canada, passed by a vote of 71 to 54 on 20 December 2004. It called on Iran to "eliminate all forms of discrimination based on religious grounds" and took note of the recent upsurge of human rights violations against the Baha'is of Iran.

Specifically, the resolution noted the "continuing discrimination against persons belonging to minorities, including Christians, Jews, and Sunnis, and the increased discrimination against the Baha'is, including cases of arbitrary arrest and detention, the denial of free worship or of publicly carrying out communal affairs, the disregard of property rights, the destruction of sites of religious importance, the suspension of social, educational, and community-related activities, and the denial of access to higher education, employment, pensions, and other benefits."

Bani Dugal, principal representative of the Baha'i International Community to the United Nations, said that the worldwide Baha'i community is thankful for the support of the international community of nations.

"As noted by the resolution, the situation for Baha'is has been worsening this year, and expressions of concern by the international community such as this remain the chief means of protection for Iran's beleaguered Baha'i community," said Ms. Dugal.