February 28, 2024

It is no secret that, after the Revolution, the civil rights of the Baha’is in Iran have been constantly violated. These violations have clearly attracted the attention of the international community and the civil society of Iran as a great portion of the reports on the violation of human rights in Iran includes those of the Baha’is’ rights. However, this focus and attention has not always been the same and has increased during various decades after the Revolution. Several factors contribute to the increased attention regarding discrimination against the Baha’i community in Iran. In this regard, Peace Mark Monthly interviewed Simin Fahandej and Dian Alai, the representatives of the Baha’i International Community in Geneva. Fahandej is the spokesperson of this international community. In this interview, the role of Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRA) during its 10 years of activism regarding the assertion of the Baha’is’ rights was discussed.Could we consider the empowerment of the society and civil organizations in Iran and the increased knowledge and awareness in the society as part of the reasons that have led to increased attention towards the human rights violations of Baha’i people in recent years in Iran?Simin Fahandej: By looking back about 7 to 8 years ago or even further back, it is clear that the overall awareness about the concept of human rights has increased in Iran. In my opinion, following the incidents of 2009, Iranian people realized that it is not only certain people who are being oppressed. Indeed, even though the Islamic Republic of Iran, through propaganda in its media such as television and newspapers, has tried to draw an ugly picture for the public of certain groups (especially the Baha’is), in recent years, most people have realized that the Baha’is are innocent. In Iran, all those who think differently from the government’s standards are oppressed. Regarding this, certainly civil and human rights activism has had a great impact.
Dian Alai: Absolutely! The civil society, Iranian human rights defenders and even the public have gradually grown more aware of the violations of the Baha’is’ rights in the past three decades. Not only does this show progress in the civil society and human rights society of Iran, but it also indicates the progress of Iran’s society and people’s mindset. This is a great outcome.