Sentinel Project Monitors Safety of the Baha’is of Iran

sentinel project bahais iran
The international tension between Iran and Western countries has ratcheted up to an alarming level. Although both sides are full of bluster, everyone is hoping that the P5+1 meeting to take place in Turkey on April 14th will provide an alternative to war.

The Islamic regime in Iran may shock everyone and ameliorate its stance on its ‘right to nuclear energy’. But even if it does, it will be for only one reason: self-preservation. For that same reason Iran is not letting up any pressure on human rights or freedoms of expression within its borders.

The recent UN special rapporteur’s report outlines just how bad the situation is in Iran and how it is worsening every year; not just for Baha’is but for anyone who falls foul of the Islamic regime.

In a few months access to the internet will be severely curtailed as Iran rolls out a “clean internet” which will be devoid of gmail, google, hotmail, twitter, etc. to be replaced with Iran Mail and “Iran Search Engine”. Iranians must register with their full legal name, address and national ID in order to use it. The next step will be a fully self-contained national intranet scheduled to go live in August 2012.

As human rights abuses perpetrated on the Iranian Baha’is continue, the 7 members of the Yaran (the alternative to an NSA which operated as the administrative body for the Baha’is of Iran) have been incarcerated for 10,000 days. The news of their arrest was broken first on Baha’i Rants in 2008: Baha’i Administrative Body of Iran Arrested.

This tragic milestone has lead to a redoubled effort by Baha’is to advocate on their behalf. A recent Op-Ed by Dr. Kishan Manoucha on the Wall Street Journal is one example of this.

Another is the Sentinel Project, a non-profit NGO based in Canada with the aim of providing an early warning system to prevent genocide around the world. Right now there are two situations of concern that they are monitoring, the Baha’is of Iran and Kenya.

The Sentinel Project monitors several important variables such as “symbolization”, “dehumanization”, “preparation” and “polarization”. They base these reports on available information, including the work of Sen McGlinn in reporting and translating Iranian reports.

The Sentinel Project has released several reports about its work on behalf of the Baha’is of Iran, including “Threat of Genocide to the Bah??’?s of Iran” and a Supplementary Report.

The reports by the Sentinel Project mention several important variables including the Hojjatieh Society which I wrote about in 2005.

While the efforts of NGOs like the Sentinel Project are laudable and all decent persons everywhere wish to see a free and democratic Iran which upholds human rights, the Baha’is that are able to leave Iran and remove themselves from harm should continue to do so (Farewell to Iran). It is my sincere wish that the UHJ acts as it did in the previous intensification of persecution of Baha’is in Iran and actively encourage and support the emigration of Baha’is from Iran for their safety.