October 5, 2017
Contact: James Samimi Farr
Office: (202) 833-8990, Cell: (747) 255-8427, Email: USBahaiMedia@usbnc.org
GENEVA – A United Nations (UN) resolution regarding the situation in Yemen, introduced by Egypt on behalf of the Arab Group and supported by the entire membership of the UN Human Rights Council, called for the release of all Baha’i detainees in the country.
Titled “Human Rights, Technical Assistance and Capacity-building in Yemen”, the resolution was adopted at the Council on Friday, 29 September 2017, by consensus.
The text expressed concern over “the severe restrictions on freedom of religion or belief, including for minorities, such as members of the Baha’i faith”. It further called upon “all parties to immediately release all Baha’i[s] detained in Yemen due to their religious belief, to cease the issuance of arrest warrants against them and to cease the harassment to which they are subjected”.
There are presently seven Baha’is in prison in Yemen, most of whom are held in undisclosed locations and one of which has been detained for nearly four years owing to repeatedly postponed court-hearings. Arrest warrants have been issued for over a dozen others, while a number of families have been forced to leave their homes.
“What is remarkable about this resolution,” explained Ms. Ala’i, the Representative of the Baha’i International Community at the UN in Geneva, “is that all members of the Council were able to reach a consensus regarding the dire situation in Yemen, including the persecution of the Baha’is as a religious community.”
While the Yemeni Baha’is are being targeted by the Houthi-Saleh authorities, the Baha’i International Community indicated, in a statement delivered at the Council last week, that reliable sources confirms that Iranian authorities are, in fact, behind the persecutions.
“Despite the harrowing circumstances in Yemen, the Baha’is have, based on the principle of non-involvement in political activities, refused to side with one group or another,” further stated Ms. Ala’i. “They have, instead, endeavored to serve all people.
“Therefore, this strong signal from the Human Rights Council not only calls on the responsible entities to cease this unjust treatment, but it also serves as a beacon of hope for those currently suffering in the country.”
For more information about religious persecution and the rights of the Baha’is in Yemen, please contact the U.S. Baha’i Office of Public Affairs at 202-833-8990, or visit publicaffairs.bahai.us.