The right to an education
Sir, – It is hard to believe that any government would deny the right to education to a group of students. For the past three decades this has been the case for Bahá’í students in Iran.
We have now learnt that a community initiative, the Bahá’í Institute for Higher Education, set up to provide a higher education programme for young Bahá’ís barred from university, has been declared illegal and those who were associated with running the programme have been arrested and accused of conspiracy against national security and conspiracy against the Islamic Republic of Iran. This action is in direct contravention of the right to education, proclaimed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and guaranteed by the International Covenant on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights – which has been signed and ratified by Iran.
It is clear from these actions that the Iranian authorities are determined to block the progress and development of these young people by denying them an education solely on the basis of their religion.
We, the undersigned, call on the Iranian authorities to immediately release those Bahá’ís arrested and held in prison, to cease their attacks on the Bahá’í Institute for Higher Education and to allow all Iranian students access to third- level education in Iran. Justice demands no less than this. – Yours, etc,