From Persecution to Promise: A Global Call to Action

From Persecution to Promise: A Global Call to Action

Iran has for many years been listed among the worst countries for persecuting Christians, featuring prominently every year on Open Doors International’s World Watch List of the top 50 persecutors and the US State Department’s Countries of Particular Concern for “egregious violations of religious freedom”.

As Article18 has highlighted with the #Place2Worship campaign, Persian-speaking Christians have nowhere to worship collectively in Iran, being prohibited from attending the churches of the recognised ethnic Assyrian and Armenian Christians, and facing sentences of up to 10 years in prison for worshipping together in their homes in what have become known as “house-churches”.

As a desperate measure, many of these Christians have subsequently and very unwillingly said goodbye to their families and homeland and stepped into the unknown.

The most obvious route for many of them has been to end up in neighbouring countries, such as Turkey, where they have continued to suffer other forms of pressure – for example not being granted work permits or access to healthcare, while many countries that once offered a safe haven to refugees have now closed their doors even to the most legitimate seekers of asylum.

Meanwhile, since 2018 the UNHCR has delegated the responsibility of interviewing asylum seekers to the Turkish immigration service, under whose authority Iranian Christians are increasingly reporting harsh and unfair treatment.

Some, despite having had their claims approved by the UNHCR, have been refused in the second round of interviews by Turkish officials and are now at risk of deportation back to Iran.

A lot of these families left Iran when their children were very young, and many have been unable to find suitable schools for their children and have spent the past five, six or even seven years just desperately hoping they will soon be relocated to another country.

Meanwhile their hopes, aspirations and livelihoods have been negatively impacted.

And all the while, it is clear that there are so many individuals and churches worldwide that would be willing to help if only they were provided with credible information from organisations with insight and verifiable data.

Back to Main Page

Quoting the contents of this article in part is permitted. However, no part of it may be used for any fundraising appeal, or for any publication where donations are requested.