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  • Increase in arrests highlights continuing persecution of Baha'is in Iran

    Baha'is from around Iran arrested in Yazd

    The arrest last week of five Baha'is in Tehran signals a rising tide of detainments and imprisonments of Baha'is in Iran in recent months, says Bev Watson of the NZ Baha'i community.  Since June, at least 14 Baha'is have been arrested. The Baha'i Faith is Iran's largest religious minority. “We are deeply concerned that this trend exemplifies a pattern of systematic persecution of Iranian Baha'is by a government that claims to uphold international standards of human rights.”

    In Yazd 20 Baha'is, who had originally been acquitted of charges leveled against them in 2012, learned last year that their cases had been re-opened. All were sentenced to prison, despite the judge’s admission that they were being treated unjustly, said Ms Watson. “The Baha'is appealed the case and,... Read more >

  • Shiraz Baha’i Cemetery Destruction Resumes

    Shiraz cemetery destruction resumes
Plans to build a sports and cultural complex over a Baha’i cemetery have resumed with concrete being poured into the site where the graves of Baha’is were excavated in order to lay the building foundation. Demolition of the cemetery, which began in late April, had temporarily stopped after the international media reported on the desecration and other governments expressed concern.

    Shiraz cemetery destruction resumes
    Plans to build a sports and cultural complex over a Baha’i cemetery have resumed with concrete being poured into the site where the graves of Baha’is were excavated in order to lay the building foundation. Demolition of the cemetery, which began in late April, had temporarily stopped after the international media reported on the desecration and other governments expressed concern.

    The resumed  demolition of an historic Baha’i cemetery in Shiraz, Iran, has horrified the Bahá'í community says Bev Watson, Director of the New Zealand Bahá'í Office of External Affairs.   “There are more than 950 Baha’is buried in this cemetery”, said Ms Watson, “including ten women – the youngest aged only 17 years – who were hanged... Read more >

  • Presentation of Petition to the New Zealand House of Representatives

    Banner of Yaran - Seven Baha'i Leaders in prison in Iran - held by Wellington Baha'is in front of the New Zealand Parliament Buildings

    Tuesday 29 July 2014

    When Hon. Annette King (Labour MP for Rongotai) was briefed by Bahá’ís in her electorate about the persecution of the Bahá’ís in Iran, she suggested that a petition be lodged in Parliament that would draw attention to this issue and call on the New Zealand government “to take a clearly defined action”.  This suggestion was welcomed by the Bahá’í community and its Director of External Affairs, Mrs Bev Watson, worked with Mrs King’s office and the Office of the Clerk to come up with appropriate wording:

    To the House of Representatives The petition of Bev Watson on behalf of The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of New Zealand

    (P.O. Box 21-551, 180 Candia Road, Henderson, Auckland, 1231)

    Respectfully requests that the House of... Read more >

  • Petition calls for release of the seven Bahá'í leaders in Iran

    At the invitation of the Honourable Annette King the New Zealand Bahá'í community is presenting a petition to the House of Representatives asking the NZ government to demand the release of the seven former leaders of the Baha’i community in Iran and to endorse the call of a senior Muslim cleric for religious co-existence. Support has been voiced by all major parties as Members of Parliament have been approached by Baha’is within their electorates.

    Members of parliament will receive the petition Tuesday July 29, at 12.45pm in the Seddon statue area in the forecourt of Parliament.

    This year marks the sixth anniversary of the unjustified incarceration of the seven former leaders of the Bahá’í community in Iran who were each sentenced to twenty years imprisonment. “It is... Read more >

  • Human Rights expert criticises Iran's marginalisation of Baha'i community

    Human rights expert Dr Tracey McIntosh of Auckland University gave a thought-provoking address at a special event marking the six years of incarceration so far served by seven former leaders of the Baha’i community in Iran. The event, attended by religious leaders, human rights advocates, lawyers, a Member of Parliament and concerned individuals, was held at the Pullman Hotel, Auckland. Organised by the New Zealand Baha'i community, it highlighted the plight of the seven former leaders and all other innocent prisoners of conscience in Iran.

    Dr McIntosh, associate professor at the University of Auckland and a member of the advisory board for the Centre for Human Rights Law, Policy and Practice, lectures on sociology and criminology.  Her earlier research had focused on extreme marginalization and genocide,... Read more >

  • New Zealand Government condemns persecution against Baha'is in Iran

    Hon Murray McCully
    Minister of Foreign Affairs

    The New Zealand Government has sent a letter to the Baha'i community regarding the ongoing persecution of the Baha'is in Iran, saying "New Zealand has consistently maintained the view that the persecution of minorities on the basis of their faith, philosophy (or lack thereof), by any country, is abhorrent. The treatment of the Baha'i community in Iran is no exception. Following worldwide condemnation of the approach taken by the Iranian authorities leading up to the 6th anniversary of the incarceration of the seven Baha'i leaders, including by our Embassy in Tehran", Mr McCully said he was "pleased to note that Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif has intervened and sought an explanation for the recent... Read more >

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