Thursday, May 24, 2007

Amnesty International 2007 Report Cites Baha’i Case

In its 2007 report released on 23 May, Amnesty International (AI) cited the discrimination against the Baha'is of Egypt and Iran in three components of its report. Under the section on “Middle East and North Africa” in the paragraph entitled "Discrimination," it stated: “In Iran, members of the Arab, Azerbaijani, Kurdish and Baluchi minorities were increasingly restive in the face of continuing discrimination and repression, while members of religious minorities - Baha'is, Nematollahi Sufis and Christians - were detained or harassed on account of their faith. Baha'is were also subject to discrimination in Egypt, where they were required to present themselves as members of other faiths in order to obtain official documents such as identity cards and birth certificates.”

Under the section on “Egypt” in its introductory paragraphs entitled "Background" it reported the following: “In December, the Supreme Administrative Court overturned an earlier decision by an Administrative Court in April 2006 which recognized the right of Egypt's Baha'is to be certified as Baha'is on official documentation. This followed an appeal by the Ministry of Interior. The decision of the Supreme Administrative Court meant that Baha'is must register themselves as Muslims, Christians or Jews if they wish to obtain official documents such as birth and death certificates and identity cards.”

In the section on "Iran" under the heading entitled "Religious minorities" it stated: "Sixty-five Baha'is were detained during 2006 and five remained held at the end of the year. In March Mehran Kawsari was released early from his three-year prison sentence imposed in connection with an open letter sent to the then President in November 2004.

In March, the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief expressed concern about an October 2005 letter instructing various government agencies to identify, and collect information about, Baha'is in Iran."

At the conclusion of the report on "Egypt" under the heading "Visits" it describes the investigations and actions taken by Amnesty International as follows: "AI delegates visited Cairo in July and December to attend conferences and in September an AI delegation, headed by the Secretary-General, had meetings in Cairo with the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States and with the Minister of Interior and other Egyptian government officials."

This annual report caught the attention of Egyptian media. Cairo's Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper, in its attached 24 May 2007 issue, published an article with photographs describing in details the violations documented by Amnesty International. The article included all the violations cited in the AI report. The 2007 Amnesty International report in Arabic can be seen here.

To my knowledge, this is the first time the struggle of the Baha'is of Egypt is addressed by Amnesty International in its investigative reports. It did report on the Baha'is of Iran before as can be seen in its 2006 report linked here. It is hoped that this initiative will assist those affected in obtaining all their rights due to them by their own government, and that violations of individual rights continue to be brought out in plain sight for the whole world to witness and be conscious of. This organization is to be congratulated on its efforts on behalf of those who are persecuted, their dignity violated, tortured or treated unjustly.


  1. Let us hope that the release of this report alerts the Egyptian government to pay serious attention to the situation of the Baha'is in Egypt.

    Perhaps we can designate a day of prayer for Egyptian and Iranian Baha'is in support of our oppressed Baha'i brothers and sisters in these two countries. We can at the same time pray for divine guidance to assist the two governments to improve their treatment of their Baha'i minorities.

  2. My Dear,
    Don't forget to look for portuguese summer school.
    Something else, if you travel from Portugal to Spain you don't need ID.
    As a matter of fact it's very important for us to know more about Bahá'is in Egypt because we are very focus om Iran. And Egypt is very closed to our door.
    We should like for a day to pray for a Bahá'ís in Egypt, that's a very nice idea.

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