Today, there was a meeting on “Freedom of Religion or Belief,” co-organized by the Permanent Mission of Canada, the Bahá’ís International Community, and the European Centre for Law and Justice.
The Moderator began the meeting with an introduction of the current situation in Iran. There have been more than 780 documented incidents of shop closings and dismissals of business licenses, and other actions of suppressing economic activities. More than 1450 executions have occurred in Iran since 2014, making Iran the country with the largest individual execution per capita in the world. All of these occurrences are due to the lack of religious tolerance in Iran; the only accepted religion is Shi’ism, and all other religious minority groups, the Bahá’ís, are persecuted. The panelists spoke of their personal stories: their family members and associates who were deprived of their education, unjustly arrested and interrogated, denied work and college acceptances all due to their distinctive religions. Mr. Tavakkoli spoke of the arrests and court cases he saw, as well as the multiple deaths and executions that were carried out in Iran.
The second panelist, Ms. Aftahi, talked about how the Iranian students are always living with a feeling of uncertainty, not knowing how they will continue their education and get an occupation. Mr. Khanjani told of his family’s oppression economically, how 20 members of his family have been in and out of prison for over 45 years, merely due to their religious beliefs and practices. A video provided Mrs. Abedini’s personal account of the status of Iranian Christians and an orphanage that she created with the participation of the Iranian government, which led to her husband’s detainment and torture in Iran. The meeting closed with the message and promotion for human rights and religious freedom in Iran.
Meeting: Freedom of Religion or Belief
Date/Location: Wednesday, November 4th, 2015; 13:15-14:30; Conference Room 8
Speakers: Individuals of the Baha’i International Community: Mr. Naeim Tavakkoli, Ms. Niknaz Aftahi, Mr. Siavosh Khanjani, Mrs. Nagmeh Abedini (by video), Mr. Danial Shahri (by video), Mr. Kambiz Saghaey
Written By: WIT Representative Jin Yoo
Edited By: WIT Representative Alex Margolick