Sen's daily

October 25, 2012

UK Parliament debates the situation of the Bahais in Iran

They work for you, October 24

The UK Parliament has again been discussing the situation of the Bahais of Iran, at the initiative of Naomi Long, MP for Belfast East. What is new (for me) is that “They work for you” has the full Hansard text of the consultation, including the interruptions and responses. Mrs Long asks the Foreign Secretary to give high priority to the UK’s existing initiatives at the UN. “In doing so, the Government would not only place the sustained abuse and persecution of the Baha’i community in Iran in the international spotlight, thus creating pressure for that to end, but hold out hope to many people around the world, of all faiths and of none, that religious persecution will not go unseen or unchallenged by the international community and that the cause of religious freedom and freedom of conscience will have a strong, international advocate in the UK Government.”

Alistair Burt (Under Secretary of State) responds by outlining what the UK has been doing, and is asked by one MP: “Does such action have any positive impacts on the treatment of Baha’is in Iran?” to which he replies, “it is genuinely difficult to tell. It is a closed society …. but the objective information we get is not good. However, what it does have an impact on is the population. The UK is not so daft as to believe that the Iranian regime speaks for all the Iranian people. We monitor carefully what the Iranian people say to each other, on social network sites and the like. The Iranian people are a savvy internationally based people. They are actually more aware and concerned about their human rights position than perhaps they appear to be … They are disturbed that there is a sense that as a good Muslim nation they are put in the dock for offences committed by their own Government that they feel very keenly about. Accordingly, although there may not be an impact every day on the day-to-day life of Baha’is or other minorities, the sense of outrage of the Iranian people is building up. That is why it is so important to raise such issues, for us to talk about them in Parliament and for us to do things through the international agencies … to ensure this is known to the Iranian people.”

Full report
The report of the UN’s special rapporteur for human rights in Iran, mentioned in this debate, is summarised on Reuters here.

Short link: http://wp.me/pNMoJ-1wu

Older items can be found in the archive, here. Even older news is here.


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