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UN told: ‘Don’t forget Iran’s persecuted Christians’

The U.S. State Department has classified Iran as a “country of particular concern” for “having engaged in or tolerated particularly severe violations of religious freedom.”

For previous coverage of Iran, see here.

“UN told: ‘Don’t forget Iran’s persecuted Christians,’” Article 18, October 29, 2021:

Article18 has partnered with seven other organisations to ask senior UN figures not to forget Iran’s persecuted Christians in future reports about the human rights situation in the country.

In letters sent this week to the UN’s secretary-general, António Guterres, and the special rapporteur on human rights in Iran, Javaid Rehman, we asked that in all future reports they “include specific reference to the main victims of FoRB [freedom of religion or belief] violations”, including Christians.

We acknowledged that both UN figures have a broader focus on human rights and religious freedom in general, and also that the special rapporteur focused specifically on the persecution Christian converts in a previous report; however, we called for consistency in naming the main victims of FoRB violations in all reports.

We noted how neither the secretary-general’s report on Iran in May this year, nor the special rapporteur’s January report, contained a single reference to Iran’s persecution of Christians, though both called more broadly for Iran to “end discrimination” against religious minorities.

We welcomed the fact that both reports contained specific references to Baha’is and Gonabadi Dervishes – two other repressed religious-minority groups in Iran – but called for consistency in naming every victim, including Christians.

In the letter to the secretary-general, we further queried why his report made no mention of the concerning amendments earlier this year to Articles 499 and 500 of Iran’s penal code, which we noted have been called a “full-on attack on the right to freedom of religion and belief”, and which have already been used in the prosecution of Christian converts….

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