Yemen: protest persecution of Baha’i community

UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion Ahmed Shaheed stated May 22 that Houthi de facto authorities in Yemen must end the campaign of harassment against the Bahá'í community in Sana'a. Shaheed's statement was prompted by reports of increased arbitrary arrests and detentions against the Bahá'í community. In addition to demanding Bahá'í community members be released, he also said that authorities must open an inquiry into the disappearance of Bahá'í who were arrested by Houthi-controlled political police in April and whose whereabouts are unknown. Shaheed said "the new wave of court summons and arrest orders appears to be an act of intimidation pressuring the Yemeni Bahá'ís to recant their faith." Such discrimination and harassment against the religious minority threatens the Republic of Yemen's independence and is a violation of Yemeni individuals' rights.

The state of human rights in Yemen has been rapidly deteriorating since October, when UN rights expert Heiner Bielefeldt condemned authorities for detaining individuals belonging to the Bahá'í community. In April the Public Prosecutor summoned 30 Bahá'í community members to appear in court, and the Houthi authorities ordered the arrest of 25 members.

This persecution takes place amid the backdrop of war and Saudi military intervention. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein reported that more than 13,000 civilians have been killed or wounded in the last two years and more than 80% of the population are in need of humanitarian assistance, in his March statement calling for an immediate ceasefire in Yemen.

From Jurst, May 23. Used with permission.