UK acknowledges the risk of persecution for ‘ordinary’ Iranian Christians
The UK’s new guidelines for asylum cases involving Iranian Christian converts acknowledge there is a “real risk” of persecution for “ordinary” Christians in Iran, and not just leaders or those with a “particularly evangelical zeal”, Article 18 reported.
The guidelines have been updated to reflect the findings of a November court hearing for an Iranian referred to as “PS”, whose claim was ultimately rejected but whose case is likely to prove extremely significant for many future claims, Article 18, a persecution watchdog reported.
“PS Iran” is now the reference case for claims involving Iranian Christian converts, replacing the case of “SZ and JM” back in 2008, when the risk to “ordinary” Christians was found to be “insufficient” for refugee protection.
The judges rejected the assertion by the barrister for the Secretary of State that “only a small proportion” of Christian converts experienced serious harm. “This may be the case,” they said, but “those who have managed to avoid such harms have done so because of the extraordinary measures that they routinely take to protect themselves and their families.”
“To put it another way, we are in no doubt that if all of the Christian converts in Iran openly declared themselves to be Christian, the Iranian security services would be very busy. “
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