Home > 106th Congressional Bills > S.Con.Res. 57 (rs) Concerning the emancipation of the Iranian Baha'i community. [Reported in Senate] ...

S.Con.Res. 57 (rs) Concerning the emancipation of the Iranian Baha'i community. [Reported in Senate] ...

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  2d Session
S. CON. RES. 57



                             July 20, 2000

          Referred to the Committee on International Relations


                         CONCURRENT RESOLUTION

      Concerning the emancipation of the Iranian Baha'i community.

Whereas in 1982, 1984, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1994, and 1996, Congress, by concurrent 
        resolution, declared that it holds the Government of Iran responsible 
        for upholding the rights of all its nationals, including members of the 
        Baha'i Faith, Iran's largest religious minority;
Whereas Congress has deplored the Government of Iran's religious persecution of 
        the Baha'i community in such resolutions and in numerous other appeals, 
        and has condemned Iran's execution of more than 200 Baha'is and the 
        imprisonment of thousands of others solely on account of their religious 
Whereas in July 1998 a Baha'i, Mr. Ruhollah Rowhani, was executed by hanging in 
        Mashhad after being held in solitary confinement for 9 months on the 
        charge of converting a Muslim woman to the Baha'i Faith, a charge the 
        woman herself refuted;
Whereas 4 Baha'is remain on death row in Iran, 2 on charges on apostasy, and 11 
        others are serving prison terms on charges arising solely from their 
        religious beliefs or activities;
Whereas the Government of Iran continues to deny individual Baha'is access to 
        higher education and government employment and denies recognition and 
        religious rights to the Baha'i community, according to the policy set 
        forth in a confidential Iranian Government document which was revealed 
        by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in 1993;
Whereas Baha'is have been banned from teaching and studying at Iranian 
        universities since the Islamic Revolution and therefore created the 
        Baha'i Institute of Higher Education, or Baha'i Open University, to 
        provide educational opportunities to Baha'i youth using volunteer 
        faculty and a network of classrooms, libraries, and laboratories in 
        private homes and buildings throughout Iran;
Whereas in September and October 1998, Iranian authorities arrested 36 faculty 
        members of the Open University, 4 of whom have been given prison 
        sentences ranging between 3 to 10 years, even though the law makes no 
        mention of religious instruction within one's own religious community as 
        being an illegal activity;
Whereas Iranian intelligence officers looted classroom equipment, textbooks, 
        computers, and other personal property from 532 Baha'i homes in an 
        attempt to close down the Open University;
Whereas all Baha'i community properties in Iran have been confiscated by the 
        government, and Iranian Baha'is are not permitted to elect their 
        leaders, organize as a community, operate religious schools, or conduct 
        other religious community activities guaranteed by the Universal 
        Declaration of Human Rights;
Whereas on February 22, 1993, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights 
        published a formerly confidential Iranian government document that 
        constitutes a blueprint for the destruction of the Baha'i community and 
        reveals that these repressive actions are the result of a deliberate 
        policy designed and approved by the highest officials of the Government 
        of Iran; and
Whereas in 1998 the United Nations Special Representative for Human Rights, 
        Maurice Copithorne, was denied entry into Iran: Now, therefore, be it
    Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), 
That Congress--
            (1) continues to hold the Government of Iran responsible 
        for upholding the rights of all its nationals, including 
        members of the Baha'i community, in a manner consistent with 
        Iran's obligations under the Universal Declaration of Human 
        Rights and other international agreements guaranteeing the 
        civil and political rights of its citizens;
            (2) condemns the repressive anti-Baha'i policies and 
        actions of the Government of Iran, including the denial of 
        legal recognition to the Baha'i community and the basic rights 
        to organize, elect its leaders, educate its youth, and conduct 
        the normal activities of a law-abiding religious community;
            (3) expresses concern that individual Baha'is continue to 
        suffer from severely repressive and discriminatory government 
        actions, including executions and death sentences, solely on 
        account of their religion;
            (4) urges the Government of Iran to permit Baha'i students 
        to attend Iranian universities and Baha'i faculty to teach at 
        Iranian universities, to return the property confiscated from 
        the Baha'i Open University, to free the imprisoned faculty 
        members of the Open University, and to permit the Open 
        University to continue to function;
            (5) urges the Government of Iran to implement fully the 
        conclusions and recommendations on the emancipation of the 
        Iranian Baha'i community made by the United Nations Special 
        Rapporteur on Religious Intolerance, Professor Abdelfattah 
        Amor, in his report of March 1996 to the United Nations 
        Commission of Human Rights;
            (6) urges the Government of Iran to extend to the Baha'i 
        community the rights guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of 
        Human Rights and the international covenants of human rights, 
        including the freedom of thought, conscience, and religion, and 
        equal protection of the law; and
            (7) calls upon the President to continue--
                    (A) to assert the United States Government's 
                concern regarding Iran's violations of the rights of 
                its citizens, including members of the Baha'i 
                community, along with expressions of its concern 
                regarding the Iranian Government's support for 
                international terrorism and its efforts to acquire 
                weapons of mass destruction;
                    (B) to emphasize that the United States regards the 
                human rights practices of the Government of Iran, 
                particularly its treatment of the Baha'i community and 
                other religious minorities, as a significant factor in 
                the development of the United States Government's 
                relations with the Government of Iran;
                    (C) to emphasize the need for the United Nations 
                Special Representative for Human Rights to be granted 
                permission to enter Iran;
                    (D) to urge the Government of Iran to emancipate 
                the Baha'i community by granting those rights 
                guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 
                and the international covenants on human rights; and
                    (E) to encourage other governments to continue to 
                appeal to the Government of Iran, and to cooperate with 
                other governments and international organizations, 
                including the United Nations and its agencies, in 
                efforts to protect the religious rights of the Baha'is 
                and other minorities through joint appeals to the 
                Government of Iran and through other appropriate 

            Passed the Senate July 19, 2000.


                                                    GARY SISCO,


Pages: 1

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