dallaire “deeply concerned” by religious persecution, human rights violations in iran

From the Canadian Baha’i News Service (CBNS):

Canadian Bahá’ís welcome Senator Dallaire’s statement today about Iran’s treatment of Bahá’ís

TORONTO, ON, 26 September 2006 (CBNS) — Lieutenant-General and Canadian Senator Roméo Dallaire said he is “alarmed” at the human rights violations being carried out by the Iranian government against Bahá’ís, in a statement released today and welcomed by Karen McKye, Secretary-General of the Bahá’í Community of Canada.

The statement by Lieutenant-General Dallaire follows on the secret letter, recently made public by Amnesty International, from the Chairman of the Command Headquarters of the Armed Forces of Iran to other senior security forces calling for the monitoring of the members of the Bahá’í community of Iran, that country’s largest religious minority. The letter alarmed the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Asma Jahangir, earlier this year.

“Canadian Bahá’ís have been profoundly concerned about the ongoing persecution of Bahá’ís in Iran and the alarming upsurge in short-term arrests, a defamatory press campaign in government media, and other signs that the level of persecution is intensifying in that country,” says McKye.

An excerpt from Lieutenant-General Dallaire’s statement follows:

Dallaire “deeply concerned” by religious persecution, human rights violations in Iran

Ottawa, September 26, 2006 — Senator Roméo Dallaire said today he is alarmed by the picture emerging from Iran that reveals systematic religious persecution and human rights violations against the 350,000 followers of the Baha’i faith, Iran’s largest religious minority.

While serving in the Canadian Forces, Dallaire commanded the failed 1994 UN mission in Rwanda where 800,000 men, women and children were murdered in 100 days during the worst genocide since the slaughter of Jews in World War II. Appalled at the world’s unwillingness to step in and stop the Rwandan genocide, Dallaire has since championed conflict resolution and international adherence to the rule of law.

Now, Dallaire says the Iranian Baha’i community is under concerted attack by the state and state-supported organizations.

“The UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion and Belief, Asma Jahangir, has stated that Iran’s army, Ministry of Information, police and Revolutionary Guards are drawing up lists of all members of the Baha’i community and putting them under surveillance,” Dallaire said. “This inventorying and targeting of citizens, based on their religious beliefs or racial heritage, is the first ugly step toward systematic violence and crimes against humanity.” […]

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