Archive for October, 2008

Highest Ranking Student Barred for Being Baha’i

Sunday, October 12th, 2008

The following is an article from Iran Press News.

[On Monday, 6 October 2008, the prestigious organization Human Rights Activists in Iran published the following letter by a Baha’i student under file number 87-1073: http://www.hrairan.com/Archive_87/1095.html. This letter is offered below in translation. Ahang Rabbani.]

My name is Sima Haqiqat-Muhlebani, daughter of Isma’il, and my birth certificate number is 5287, issued in Tehran. I was born in 1961. After 24 years of being barred from attending institutions of higher education in Iran and being deprived of furthering my education solely on the ground of my belief in the Baha’i Faith, I participated in the nationwide college entrance examination.
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International Childs Day: What does the future hold for Iran’s children

Sunday, October 12th, 2008

In light of the UN’s International Day of the Child, The Association of Iranian researchers (ACI) have revealed some worrying statistics on the human rights violations of children and youth in Iran.
From the inception of the Iran-Iraq war the recruitment of child soldiers began, and
the glimmers of a generation of brainwashed young people was emerging as children were sent off to the front line with plastic keys hanging round their necks assured of their place in heaven, were they to die as martyrs in battle.

Today matters are no better. Around 32% of the population (23 million) are under the age of 18 and their problems are many. For a start 14 million of those are below the poverty line and go to bed hungry with empty stomachs. Many cannot attend school and around 5 million children and youth are excluded from the basic rights and opportunities of education. In 2006 surveys revealed that around 260,339 of those under 14 years of age were forced into child labour, many in heavy work, and were providing for their families. Being a girl brings its own troubles. In Iran girls are forbidden to participate many sports particularly team ones. Surely this has permanent repercussions for their physical wellbeing and confidence.

Possibly the most shocking statistic refers to marriages in the 10-14 age range, from a survey in 2006:
There were around 78,000 who had been married at least once. 4437 of those were widowed and 5160 were divorced.

The ACI’s article reveals further detailed statistics to those between the ages of 14 – 18

Read the original article in Farsi

child labour Iran

The day of the Child is on the 20 November. A day where many celebrate the child and the potential that they hold for the future. In Iran, however, those seeds of inspiration so latent in every child have little or no chance to be nurtured.

Death Penalty for apostacy: an imminent threat to religious minorities in Iran.

Sunday, October 12th, 2008

Alarm bells are ringing across the globe as a new bill proposing the death penalty for
apostacy awaits its verdict from the Iranian Parliament. If this bill does get through many religious minorities, eg Christians, Baha’is and converts could legally face the death penalty. As the Islamic republic finds yet another loophole to rob a population of its religious freedom, cries of outrage are being heard across the world, from human rights activists to political leaders. One such voice was that of The British Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary, Rt Hon David Miliband, MP who has condemned this bill and stated that he deplored the way in which the Iranian Parliament is… now discussing a draft penal code that would set out a mandatory death sentence for the crime, quote unquote, of apostasy.”

Apostacy by definition means Abandonment of one’s religious faith. However this wouldn’t stop at just converts from Islam as in the example of the Baha’i community which Iran “considers to be apostates because of their claim to a religious revelation subsequent to that of the Prophet Mohammed……Since 1979, Iranian authorities have killed more than 200 Baha’i leaders, thousands have been arrested and imprisoned, and more than 10,000 have been dismissed from government and university jobs”.

The United Nations Commission on Human Rights, considers the recanting of a person’s religion a human right legally protected by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Yet Iran continues to ignore these ideals, and ultimately denying itself and its people the chance to contribute to, and experience, a more just and tolerant vision of society.