Washington, DC – Last Friday, Representative Mark S. Kirk introduced H. Res. 175, “condemning the Government of Iran for its state-sponsored persecution of its Baha’i minority and its continued violation of the International Covenants on Human Rights.”
The resolution, cosponsored by seven other lawmakers, calls for the immediate release of Baha’i religious prisoners and a combined effort from the US President and Secretary of State to condemn Iran for its violation of human rights. Last May, Iranian officials arrested six leaders of the Baha’i community in Iran under charges of “anti-Iranian” activities.
In 2006, Representative Kirk and other members of congress introduced a similar bill to bring attention to the abusive actions of the Iranian government. H. Con 415 called for the “emancipation of Iranian Bahia’s” and urged the Bush administration to coordinate an international stance against Iran’s human rights record.
According to Kirk, “an Islamic dictatorship that denies its people basic political and human rights, this religion founded in Iran on the tenets of religious tolerance remains an anathema (sic) to the Supreme Leader.” Iran’s imprisonment of its Baha’i citizens shows a blatant disregard for the religious freedom granted in its constitution as well as an infringement of its commitment as a signatory of the U.N. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
These violations have attracted the attention of several human rights organizations, including the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, which released a statement on Friday expressing “a serious concern over the future of seven imprisoned leaders of the Iranian Baha’i community.”