Families of Yemeni Baha’is Await Their Release After UN Resolution

The United Nations has passed a resolution demanding the release of Yemeni Baha’is imprisoned for their faith. But their families have yet to hear good news. 

On September 29th, the United Nations Human Rights Council endorsed a resolution demanding that Yemen’s government release the seven Baha’is imprisoned for their faith.

The resolution, titled “Human Rights, Technical Assistance and Capacity-Building in Yemen,” expressed concern over the restrictions placed on religious minorities, and “further called upon ‘all parties to immediately release all Baha’is detained in Yemen due to their religious belief, to cease the issuance of arrest warrants against them and to cease the harassment to which they are subjected.’”

The resolution was introduced by Egypt in the 47 member Human Rights council, and unanimously endorsed by all countries. The Presidency of the Council is currently being held by Joaquín Alexander Maza Martelli, a distinguished diplomat from El Salvador who has been serving as Permanent Representative of El Salvador to the United Nations Office since October 2014.

Baha’is are a religious minority in the Middle East, and are often viewed as apostates of Islam due to following a prophet, Baha’u’llah, who came after the Islamic prophet Mohammad. Baha’is in Yemen have been harassed and arrested by the country’s Iran-backed Houthi authorities since their rise to power in 2014.

Rezvan Sanai

Conatus News spoke with Rezvan Sanai, an Iranian Baha’i who now lives in Antelope, California. Rezvan’s brother and nephew, Badi and Pazhohesh Sanai, live in Yemen, and are currently imprisoned in Sanaa. Badi has been imprisoned since May. Rezvan said that he thought Pazhohesh had been imprisoned since April, but he was not entirely sure.

Rezvan Sanai, is an Iranian-American Baha’i. His brother and nephew live in Yemen, and are currently imprisoned there.

Rezvan said that he is still unsure of whether or not his family members will be released any time soon. He said, “We are just waiting for good news.”

Tara is a journalist and campaigner based in San Francisco, US

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