Long brings religious freedom debate to Westminster

East Belfast MP Naomi Long has called on the British Government to take action to ensure discrimination against the Bahá’í community in Iran is ended during a debate she tabled on the subject in Westminster Hall today (Wednesday).

The Alliance MP said persecution of Baha’i in the Middle Eastern country was now at epidemic levels and said the international community had a large role to play in stopping it.

Mrs Long added that it was important the spotlight was put on Iran now, as the United Nations General Assembly Third Committee is this week reviewing the country’s human rights record.

“Records show that since August 2004 in Iran, 617 Bahá’ís have been arrested and there are believed to be 116 members of the community in prison today because of their religion. Meanwhile, the entire community is being monitored by Iranian state agents, with students particularly affected – those who declare their religion when pressured to deny their faith may be expelled from schools and universities.

“The most recent UN report on the country stated not only was there serious discrimination against the Bahá’i community but in addition there was experience of a “systemic and systematic persecution of members” of the Bahá’i faith, which included severe socio-economic pressure, as well as arrests and detention.

“I urge the Government to work to ensure maximum support of a UN resolution on the human rights situation in Iran and make sure it passes with the largest possible majority. That would send an important message to the Bahá’i community, those persecuting them and crucially, to other persecuted minority faiths.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *