On the occasion of the International Day for Tolerance (16 November), the Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation for the Promotion of Human Rights and Democracy in Iran (ABF) is pleased to offer readers its Persian translation of the United Nations' Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination based on Religion or Belief (November 25th, 1981). The Declaration can be found in the organization’s bi-lingual on-line library of essential democracy and human rights documents.
Laws and regulations based on intolerance and discrimination have characterized Iran’s jurisprudence for more than 28 years. Thousands of citizens have been persecuted, and in many cases jailed or killed, for their religious and political beliefs. Christians, Jews, Baha'is, and Sunnis, among other religious minorities, as well as atheists have been executed solely for their beliefs.
Unconcerned by international and national protests and outrage, Iranian authorities have found no better response than to muzzle critics by imposing censorship and by filtering a large number of websites dedicated to civil rights, equality and political freedom.
ABF’s own website, including its democracy library and its on-line memorial (Omid) of individuals put to death by the Islamic Republic since 1979, was recently added by Iran’s government to a long list of civic-minded blogs and websites that have been blocked.
Rather than applying internet filters, which hardly deter many technologically savvy Iranians, the authorities should lift bans on all informational websites reflecting civil society's discontent. The authorities should acknowledge the public demand for freedom of religion, freedom of expression, tolerance and equality before the law. Instead of blocking a website dedicated to the memory of the victims, the government should address their relatives, informing them of any legal proceedings against their loved ones, and revealing the burial locations of those citizens tried behind closed doors and executed.
ABF is committed to documenting the human rights abuses in Iran and urges Iranians around the world to send to Omid documents and details about individuals who have been arrested and put to death since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. This is a crucial contribution, for otherwise, distorted accounts offered by officials of the Islamic Republic will be the only narratives available to recount the sufferings and deaths of thousands of Iranians who have been executed.
The Boroumand Foundation is a non-governmental non-profit organization, founded in April 1991, and dedicated to the promotion of human rights and democracy in Iran. The Foundation is an independent organization with no political affiliation and is committed to promoting human rights awareness through education and the dissemination of information as necessary prerequisites for the establishment of a stable democracy in Iran. www.abfiran.org