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CONCERN REGARDING THE REPRESSION OF THE RELI. GIOUS, FREEDOM AND HUMAN RIGHTS OF THE IRANIAN BAHÁ'Í COMMUNITY BY THE GOVERNMENT OF IRAN; CONCERN REGARDING THE GROSS VIOLATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND CIVIL LIBERTIES OF THE SYRIAN PEOPLE BY THE GOVERNMENT OF THE SYRIAN ARAB REPUBLIC; SUPPORT OF FULL MEMBERSHIP OF ISRAEL IN THE WEOG AT THE U.N.; AND SUPPORT FOR THE ACCESSION OF ISRAEL TO THE OECD

WEDNESDAY, MAY 12, 2004

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
SUBCOMMITTEE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

AND CENTRAL ASIA,
COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS,

Washington, DC. The Subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 2 o'clock p.m. in Room 2200, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Joseph R. Pitts presiding.

Mr. PITTS. The Subcommittee will come to order. We are convening to mark up the following resolutions: H. Con. Res. 319, expressing the grave concern of Congress regarding the continuing repression of the religious freedom and human rights of the Iranian Bahá'í community by the Government of Iran; H. Con. Res. 363, expressing the grave concern of Congress regarding the continuing gross violations of human rights and civil liberties of the Syrian people by the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic; H. Res. 615, expressing the sense of the House of Representatives in support of full membership of Israel in the Western European and Others Group (WEOG) at the United Nations; and H. Res. 617, expressing support for the accession of Israel to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

It is my understanding that these resolutions are completely noncontroversial. Accordingly, we will consider them en bloc. Without objection, the four resolutions will be favorably reported to the Full Committee, and the amendments which the Members have before them will be deemed adopted. Any Member may insert a statement in the record.

[The resolutions and amendments referred to follow:]

(1)

IV

108TH CONGRESS

1ST SESSION

H. CON. RES. 319

Expressing the grave concern of Congress regarding the continuing repression

of the religious freedom and human rights of the Iranian Bahá'í community by the Government of Iran.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

OCTOBER 30,

2003 Ms. Ros-LEHTINEN (for herself, Mr. LANTOS, and Mr. SMITH of New Jersey)

submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on International Relations

CONCURRENT RESOLUTION Expressing the grave concern of Congress regarding the con

tinuing repression of the religious freedom and human rights of the Iranian Bahá'í community by the Government of Iran.

Whereas in 1982, 1984, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, and

in 2000, Congress, by concurrent resolution, declared that it holds the Government of Iran responsible for upholding the rights of all its nationals, including members

of the Bahá'í Faith; Whereas the followers of Bahá'u'lláh, who constitute the larg

est religious minority in Iran, are not recognized under the Iranian Constitution and are deprived thereby of adequate legal protection;

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Whereas Congress has deplored the Government of Iran's

persecution of the Bahá'í community and has condemned Iran's execution of more than 200 Bahá'í and the imprisonment of thousands of others solely on account of their religious beliefs;

Whereas on February 22, 1993, the United Nations Commis

sion on Human Rights published a confidential Iranian Government document revealing that these repressive actions are part of a deliberate policy to destroy the Bahá'í community, a deliberate policy that was designed and approved by the highest officials in the Iranian Govern

ment;

Whereas in 2002, when the United States was not a member

of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, the resolution against human rights abuses in Iran failed to pass for the first time in 17 consecutive years;

Whereas in 2003, a resolution against human rights abuses

in Iran was not introduced for a vote at the meeting of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights;

Whereas the Government of Iran is now free to continue its

systematic and deliberate policy to destroy the Bahá'í community in the absence of international monitors;

Whereas the use of harassment, in the form of arrests, sus

pended sentences, and short-term detentions against the Iranian Bahá'ís have increased since the failure in 2002 to adopt the United Nations resolution against human rights abuses in Iran;

Whereas four Bahá'ís remain imprisoned in Iran solely be

cause of their religious beliefs, 1 serving a 4-year sentence and another a life sentence for apostasy from

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Islam, while 2 others are serving 15 years of imprisonment for associating with Bahá'í institutions;

Whereas the Iranian Government's deliberate policy to expel

Bahá'ís from universities once it becomes known that they are Bahá'ís has not changed;

Whereas Bahá'ís continue to be banned from studying at Ira

nian universities and therefore were forced to create their own Bahá'í Institute of Higher Education (BIHE) using private homes and volunteer faculty throughout Iran, yet in July 2002, Iranian Revolutionary Guards intimidated students and systematically disrupted qualifying examinations for the Bahá'í university in nine districts by videotaping the proceedings, interrogating students, and

confiscating Bahá'í books and examination papers; Whereas the Iranian Government's deliberate policy to deny

Bahá'ís any position of influence, such as in the educational sector, has not changed;

Whereas in 1998, officers of the Iranian Government arrested

36 faculty members of the Bahá'í school and seized textbooks, scientific papers, computers, desks and benches from 532 Bahá'í homes and, in March 2003, a Bahá'í was re-imprisoned for, among similar charges, educating and training Bahá'í youth in various professions and

crafts; Whereas the Iranian Government's deliberate policy to deny

Bahá'í individuals employment if they identify their reli

gion has not changed; Whereas some 10,000 Bahá'ís were dismissed from govern

ment positions and educational institutions in the 1980s because of their religious beliefs, many remain unemployed and receive no unemployment benefits or pensions,

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while others have been required to return salaries or pensions paid to them before they were dismissed;

Whereas the Iranian Government's deliberate policy to de

stroy the Bahá'í community's cultural roots inside the country has not changed;

Whereas the Iranian Government has refused to permit Ira

nian Bahá'ís to elect their leaders, refuses to return confiscated Bahá'í community properties, refuses to allow Bahá'ís to assemble as a community, and has demonstrated a desire to impose its own religious ideology on Bahá'í youth, as shown by the arrest of 17 Bahá'í boys and girls, in June 2002, on the way to a camp for Bahá'í teaching and cultural activities;

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Whereas the Iranian Government's deliberate policy to de

stroy the Bahá'í community's cultural roots outside the

country has not changed; Whereas in February 2001, Iranian authorities denied visas

to non-Iranian Bahá'ís holding Indian, South Korean, Japanese, and United States passports who were part of the Bahá'í International Community's delegation to the Regional Preparatory Conference for the United Nations' World Conference Against Racism, held in Tehran; and

Whereas the Government of Iran's deliberate policy of slowly

strangling the Bahá'í community's viability is in direct violation of international norms expressed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and has not changed: Now, therefore, be it

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