Chandigarh,15 june:Baha’i Delegates from Chandigarh, Mohali, Panchkula, Derabasi, Kalka, Parwanoo, Simla(covering three Northern states of Punjab, Haryana, H.P. and the Union Territory of Chandigarh) gathered on June15, 2008, at the Baha’i House, Chandigarh, to pray together for the safety of their persecuted brothers and sisters, and to share their concern over the recent human rights violations in Iran with residents of the city of Chandigarh who believe in democracy and freedom of religion.
Six Bahá’í leaders were arrested on 14 May in Tehran, and taken to an unknown place, in an operation that is ominously similar to episodes in the 1980s when scores of Iranian Bahá’í leaders were abducted and killed. Since their arrest, 0n May 14, they have had no access to legal assistance nor allowed to meet their family. They have been detained without formal charges. They have been wrongly accused of anti national activities, all of which are baseless as Bahá’ís are peace-loving, law abiding citizens and do not participate in any political activitiy. The 7th member was arrested earlier in Mashhad on 5th March 2008.
In 1980s, when more than 200 Baha’is including most of their leaders were killed and large numbers thrown into prisons, the international outcry and the world media played a major role in preventing large scale genocide of the Baha’is in Iran. Although the conditions showed signs of improvement, it was temporary and superficial as systematic persecution continued unabated.
The 300,000 –member Baha’i community is the largest religious minority in Iran. Since 1979, the Iranian Government has pursued a systematic policy of intimidation and extermination of the Bahai community.
The Baha’is have been deprived of almost all fundamental rights as citizens. They have been thrown out of jobs, their properties confiscated, their economic growth blocked, deprived of legal rights, their children harassed in schools, their youths denied university and highter education. In recent past, there have been heightened degree of persecution with hundreds of Bahá’ís subjected to arbitrary arrests and detentions.
Since 1985, the human rights machinery of the the United Nations has passed more than 20 resolutions expressing concern about reports of human rights violations in Iran including that of the Bahá’ís , and the United Nations General Assembly itself has approved some 19 resolutions that have specifically mentioned the conditions of the Bahá’ís in Iran and expressed concern over human rights violations there.
Our appeal to the media is to raise united voice of concern for putting an end to the persecution of the Bahá’ís in Iran a nd to end all human rights violations.