Sweden’s Foreign Minister meets Baha’is to express concern over human rights violations in Iran and
Ann Linde, Foreign Minister of Sweden, met virtually last week with representatives of the Baha’i community of Sweden and the Baha’i International Community’s Brussels and Geneva offices to discuss the persecution of Baha’is in Iran and Yemen. The meeting was chaired by Member of Parliament, Anders Österberg. Foreign Minister Linde assured the Baha’is at the meeting that she continues to raise Sweden’s concerns over the violations of the rights of Baha’is with the Iranian authorities, most recently with Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, and with the Houthi authorities in Yemen. She particularly expressed her support for the Baha’i youth of Iran who are denied access to higher education as a matter of state policy, as well as her dismay over the ramping up of the persecution during the first six months of the pandemic.
Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister, Jean Asselborn, had also written to Foreign Minister Zarif this past June, condemning the recent escalation of the persecution of the Baha’is in Iran. The UK Foreign Minister Dominic Raab and Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas joined Mr. Asselborn in addressing—in a Financial Times article co-authored by the Swedish Foreign Minister—the situation of the Baha’is in Yemen.
In recent weeks, the persecution of the Baha’is was also addressed by the European Parliament in its plenary session. Referring to these discussions, Member of the European Parliament Juan Lopez Aguilar, Chair of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, said that the Baha’i Faith had a “widespread presence” around the world despite being “discriminated against, harassed and persecuted” in Iran.
Moreover, a debate in the German Bundestag took place on 9 October 2020 and prompted parliamentarians to highlight the situation of the Baha’is based on a motion outlining the recent escalation of the persecution in Iran.