Wednesday, 29 July 2020
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
172. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the representations made by Ireland calling for an end to state-sponsored oppression and persecution of Baháí citizens in Iran; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19451/20]
Ireland strongly condemns all forms of persecution on the basis of religion or belief, irrespective of where they occur or who the victims are. This commitment to promoting freedom of religion and belief is reaffirmed in the Global Island: Ireland’s Foreign Policy for a Changing World and A Better World.
Discriminatory practices with respect to employment, education and access to other basic services, continue to affect Bahá’í and other minority groups in Iran. Bahá’í business owners struggle to start and operate businesses, including issues with forced closures. Bahá’í students face challenges in gaining access to education, with consistent reports of applicants to universities being rejected on the basis of their faith. The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran has reported that members of minorities continue to be subjected to arbitrary arrest and detention for engaging in peaceful advocacy for their rights.
Ireland continues to call strongly for the end to the persecution of members of the Bahá’í faith in Iran. Ireland has consistently raised the discriminatory treatment of the Bahá’ís in multilateral fora. Most recently, at the 43rd session of the Human Rights Council (HRC), Ireland raised concerns regarding the continued discrimination against ethnic and religious minorities, in particular those that are not recognised under the Constitution in Iran, and made specific reference to the Bahá’í community. Ireland is also a traditional co-sponsor of the HRC resolution on Freedom of Religion or Belief.
Ireland called on Iran to take all necessary steps to protect the rights of the Bahá’í during the Universal Periodic Review of Iran’s human rights record in November 2019.
Bilaterally, our concerns about human rights are conveyed to the Iranian Embassy on all appropriate occasions. As part of political consultations with Iran which took place in Tehran in February, senior officials from my Department again directly communicated our concerns regarding the human rights situation in Iran.
Ireland, along with the EU, will continue to encourage progress in relation to religious minorities in Iran, and to make clear our concerns to the Iranian authorities.