iran confiscates baha’is’ properties

From the Baha’i World News Service (BWNS):

Iran confiscates Baha’is’ properties, says UN

Baha’is in Iran face discriminatory housing policies, including “the abusive use of property confiscation,” said a United Nations report released at a news conference last week.

At least 640 Baha’i properties have been seized since 1980, according to Miloon Kothari, the UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, who wrote the report and presented it to the news media on 29 June 2006.

“The properties listed included houses and agricultural land, but also Baha’i sacred places such as cemeteries and shrines,” said Mr. Kothari. “The affected owners have allegedly not been given an opportunity to participate or receive prior information related to ongoing confiscation procedures.”

He said, for example, many of the confiscations were made by Iranian Revolutionary Courts, and that some of the verdicts he examined declared that “the confiscation of the property of ‘the evil sect of the Baha’i’ [were] legally and religiously justifiable.”

In rural areas, he said, such confiscations were often accompanied by threats and physical violence before and during related forced evictions.

Mr. Kothari said he was “concerned at the clear evidence of discriminatory conduct with respect to Baha’i property, including housing.”

At the news conference, Mr. Kothari said he continues to receive reports about Baha’is who have had their land confiscated.

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