The Islamic Republic of Iran has a population of around 75 million. It is home to one of the oldest human civilization in the Middle East.
Shia Islam is the official religion in Iran. Under Article 13 of the constitution of Iran Zoroastrian, Jewish and Christians are recognised as religious minorities.
Unfortunate as it is, minorities in Iran are denied any constitutional rights. They are treated as second-class citizens. They are usually denied access to government jobs and it is highly unlikely that they would be appointed as judges, let alone the president of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
In a systematic policy of electoral marginalization of non- recognized minorities, they are barred from voting or contesting in the parliamentary elections. The representatives of the non-recognized minorities are elected to Iranian parliament on fixed seats.
Bahá'ís the largest minority in Iran have restricted opportunity to practise their religion. They often face violence, discrimination, injustice and infringement of their constitutional rights.
A 1993 controversial bill by Iran Supreme Revolutionary cultural council which was later signed into law provoked criticism by human rights groups. The disputed law further curtailed religious freedoms of the oppressed Bahá'ís community in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The religiously motivated killings of 201 Bahá'ís since 1979 shockingly manifests the poor treatment of the Bahá'ís in Iran.
Atheists do not have any legal rights unless they subscribe themselves to one of the mainstream religions in Iran. Conversion from Islam (Apostasy) is punishable by death.
In a country where gross human rights violations have become a norm than a rule the successive regimes have discouraged the freedom of expression. Around 100 publications were banned in early 2000s, an example of how authorities in Iran penalize dissenting voices.
In 2011 alone the authorities imprisoned hundreds of journalists and some were executed.
There is little or no freedom of religion other than Islam in Iran. Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, who was arrested after having been accused of becoming an apostate. He was acquitted in September, 2012 after high court ruling in his favor but was re-arrested in December, 2012 following the accusation that he had been preaching to Muslims.
Global Minorities Alliance (GMA) urges President of Mahmoud Ahmadnijad to take measures to improve minority’s rights situation in his country. We demand the release of all people who have been falsely imprisoned especially the ones who are languishing in Iranian prisons on account of their faith and religious beliefs.
Shahid Khan | Google | Global Minorities Alliance