The United Nations General Assembly has called on the Iranian government to end its discrimination of minorities in Iran, including of the Bahá’í community, Iran’s largest non-Muslim religious minority. The vote confirms a Third Committee resolution passed in November.
The resolution, endorsed by the General Assembly’s 76th session and introduced by Canada and 47 co-sponsors from all regions, passed by 78 votes in favor, with 31 against and 69 abstentions.
“The international community has, yet again, used its highest forum to call on the Islamic Republic to abide by its human rights commitments and to respect the rights of the Bahá’ís,” said Bani Dugal, Principal Representative of the Bahá’í International Community to the United Nations. “We are grateful for this constant support—and we hope the Iranian government will heed this call.”
Resolutions on Iran’s human rights situation have been tabled and approved since the early 1980s—making it one of the UN’s most enduring and troubling human rights concerns. The Bahá’ís face harassment and intimidation, arbitrary detention in violation of due process, incitement to hatred in the media and from the pulpit, denial of business licenses and livelihoods, denial of access to higher education and confiscations of property.
One of the latest incidents, in the village of Kata, saw thirteen irrigated farmlands belonging to Bahá’ís listed for public auction without their permission. The auction came during a serious water shortage in Iran, which may have been a pretext by authorities who for years have tried to expropriate Bahá’í-owned assets.
Numerous other instances of persecution of Bahá’ís in Iran—a constant since the 1979 Islamic Revolution—have also been reported over recent months. Lands belonging to Bahá’ís in Semnan, Roshankouh, and Ivel have been confiscated; hate propaganda articles have increased; new evidence has emerged of the religious prejudice motivating Iran’s policy of banning Bahá’ís from higher education; and official documents have come to light that detail measures ordered by security services to suppress the Bahá’í community.