Friday, May 30, 2008

Amnesty International 2008 Report Critical of Iran & Egypt

Amnesty International has just released its 2008 report regarding the state of the world's human rights.

Concerning the repression of religious minorities, most prominent were the struggles of the Baha'is of Egypt and Iran.

Regarding Egypt, the report states the following in reference to the identity documents matter:
The legal requirement to specify religion on identity papers, and only religions recognized by the state, continued to have serious implications for some minorities. Baha’is, whose faith is not recognized by the state, cannot obtain identity papers without posing as a Muslim, Christian or Jew. Without the papers, they cannot enroll children in school, drive a car, or open a bank account. The lack of identity papers also leaves them vulnerable during police checks. Converts, especially from Islam to Christianity, also faced difficulties changing their papers.
As to Iran, it reported a brief account of the current escalation of oppressive practices against the Baha'i population of the country by stating:
Baha’is throughout the country continued to face persecution on account of their religion. At least 13 Baha’is were arrested in at least 10 cities and were subject to harassment and discriminatory practices, such as denial of access to higher education, bank loans and pension payments. Nine Baha’i cemeteries were desecrated.
Even though Cairo's Court of Administrative Justice had ruled last January that the Baha'is were entitled to obtain identification documents, thus far not a single Baha'i in Egypt has been able to obtain such documents. This week, Egypt's government-appointed National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) is holding a session that will address the delay in implementing the ruling. It is hoped that following this meeting, the Council will press the case and urge the government to implement the court's ruling expeditiously.


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