Iran: Update regarding the treatment of Baha'is, particularly with respect to military service and ability to obtain a passport (2000)
|Publisher||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||5 January 2001|
|Citation / Document Symbol||IRN35966.E|
|Cite as||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Iran: Update regarding the treatment of Baha'is, particularly with respect to military service and ability to obtain a passport (2000), 5 January 2001, IRN35966.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3df4be4414.html [accessed 19 November 2017]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
Both the Annual Report on International Religious Freedom (Sept. 2000) and the report of the Special Rapporteur on the "Situation of Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran" (UN 8 Sept. 2000) note that although the overall situation for Baha'is in Iran remains a matter of concern, there have been incremental improvements under the Khatami administration. According to the report of the Special Rapporteur:
72. The concern about the human rights situation of the Baha'is remains on the agenda of the Special Representative, with reports on situations of discrimination and persecution. The Baha'i community continues to experience discrimination in areas of, inter alia, education, employment, travel, housing and the enjoyment of cultural activities.
73. Eleven Baha'is are imprisoned in the Islamic Republic of Iran, four of whom are subject to the death sentence (see annex II). The Special Representative received a letter dated 25 February 2000 from the Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations Office at Geneva, stating that the spokesmen of the judiciary had denied confirmation of the death sentences against Hidayat Kashifi Najafabadi and Sirus Dhabihi-Muqaddam. The Special Representative has received conflicting information as to the current status of this matter.
74. Acts of intimidation carried out in order to prevent Baha'is from participating in religious gatherings or educational activities have also been reported. According to information reaching the Special Representative, there seems to have been an increase in the number of short-term arrests and "suspended sentences", to be applied only if the accused participate again in those gatherings.
75. A welcome development was the elimination of questions regarding the religion of spouses at the time of the registration of a marriage. According to information submitted by the Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations Office at Geneva, the Registration Department has issued a circular in this regard. This opens up the possibility of registering Baha'i marriages, a development which will have positive implications for the rights of Baha'i women and children, who have until now been exposed to charges of prostitution and denied the right to inherit. There is now the prospect that university entrance will be the next sector in which religious discrimination of this nature will be removed.
Neither report makes reference to issues of military service or ability to obtain a passport. In a telephone interview with the Research Directorate, the Director of Governmental Relations of the Ottawa office of the Baha'i Community of Canada stated that Baha'is do serve in the Iranian military, however, she was unaware of any recent cases of ill-treatment of Baha'is in the context of military service (4 Jan. 2001). The Director of Governmental Relations added that there had been a case some years ago in which a Baha'i recruit was beaten to death by his commanding officer. With respect to the ability to obtain a passport, the Director of Governmental Relations stated that it had become much easier and more common for Baha'is to obtain a passport than it had been previously (ibid). Additional and/or corroborative information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
Annual Report on International Religious Freedom. September 2000. United States Department of State. Washington, D.C.
United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). 8 September 2000. Situation of Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran: Interim Report on the Situation of Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran Prepared by the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights. (A/55/363)
Baha'i Community of Canada, Ottawa. 4 January 2001. Telephone interview with Director of Governmental Relations.
Additional Sources Consulted
World News Connection (WNC)
Internet sites, including:
Bahai World News Service