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Iran: Discrimination

Volume 459: debated on Tuesday 1 May 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports she has received on the adverse treatment by teachers and school administrators in Iran of children belonging to the Baha’i faith; and if she will make a statement. (134440)

We continue to have concerns about the situation of religious minorities in Iran and treatment of the Baha’i community in particular.

We have received some reports from the National Assembly of the Baha’is of the United Kingdom about persecution of Baha’i school children and are currently trying to find out more information about these serious claims. We will take further action as appropriate.

We continue to raise the situation of religious minorities bilaterally, and through the EU, and have pressed the Iranian authorities on many occasions to take seriously their international human rights obligations, uphold the right to freedom of religion and belief as described in Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and address the intimidation and discrimination suffered by Iranian Baha’is. We also take action at the UN and in December 2006, we along with all EU countries, co-sponsored a resolution on human rights in Iran which expressed serious concern at

“the escalation and increased frequency of discrimination and other human rights violations against members of the Baha’i Faith”.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the Government have made representations to the Iranian authorities on the treatment of the Baha’i faith and the Baha’i community by leading Iranian media outlets; and if she will make a statement. (134441)

We continue to have concerns about the situation of religious minorities in Iran, and treatment of the Baha’i community in particular. We regularly receive reports of intimidation and discrimination against Baha’is in Iran.

We remain concerned about reports that Iranian newspapers including Keyhan have been carrying out a propaganda campaign against the Baha’i community. We raised our concerns about this in an EU demarche on 11 April 2006, and on 10 April 2006, EU Foreign Ministers underlined their

“continued concerns about the human rights situation in Iran, in particular regarding the situation of the Baha’is”.

We continue to raise the situation of the Baha’is with the Iranian authorities, bilaterally and through the EU. We also take action at the UN and in December 2006, we along with all EU countries, co-sponsored a resolution on human rights in Iran, which expressed serious concern at

“the escalation and increased frequency of discrimination and other human rights violations against members of the Baha’i Faith”.