About Free to Believe
Free to Believe is a campaign in support of all prisoners of conscience in Iran. The objective of the campaign is to raise awareness amongst the general public of all prisoners of conscience currently in jail in Iran.
Unfortunately, there is a long history of human rights abuses against the Bahá’í community in Iran however, it is now clear that other sections of Iranian society are increasingly meeting with the same fate as the Bahá’ís.
In the recent Amnesty International document on human rights abuses in Iran – We Are Ordered to Crush You (named after the statement made to journalist Ahmad Zeidabadi by his interrogator) it has become clear that the Bahá’ís are now part of a whole community of Iranian people being tortured, imprisoned and executed simply because of their beliefs.
There is increasing concern worldwide about the extensive and escalating human rights abuses in Iran. In March 2012, Mr. Ahmad Shaeed, Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran, expressed his concern over continuing violations in Iran. Arrests are on the increase, as are executions, and Iran refuses to cooperate with the UN, or indeed even to correspond with them, with regard to these issues.
As a group, the situation of the Bahá’í community within Iran is an extremely perilous one. Not only are several Bahá’ís in prison, there is also an escalation of the intimidation and persecution of Baha’is outside of prison. With no recognition in the Constitution of Iran, Bahá’ís functionally have no legal existence within their country and can be abused – by anybody – with complete impunity.
Canadian senator Roméo Dallaire, who served as Force Commander of UNAMIR in Rwanda between 1993 and 1994, has stated that the situation of the Bahá’ís in Iran is deteriorating and resembles the situation in Rwanda before the genocide. He is calling on Canada, and other countries, to intervene before it is too late. (The full text of his address to the Canadian Senate in November 2011, can be read here – http://bahainews.ca/images/Dallaire-statement.pdf
However, as so many more Iranians striving to work for the betterment of their society are meeting the same fate as the Bahá’ís, we have decided to broaden our scope to include all prisoners of conscience within Iran.
Senator Roméo Dallaire may sadly be correct when he describes the treatment of the Bahá’í community within Iran as, ‘a slow motion rehearsal for genocide.’ Nevertheless, as in all genocidal situations many other smaller groups and individuals will be targeted and therefore also need our support and protection.
After all genocides the international community reproaches itself for not intervening before the fact. We beat our breasts and wonder what could have been done to avert tragedy. In undertaking the Free to Believe initiative we are trying to bring public attention to this escalating human rights situation in the hope of averting another major genocidal catastrophe.
We wonder if you’d like to help us?