Christians continue to suffer in Iran, new report says
Middle East Concern, in collaboration with Open Doors International, Article 18 and CSW has released the 2018 report on violations of the rights of Christians in Iran.
During 2018, the Iranian Christian community, along with other religious minorities, continued to suffer multiple violations of their right to freedom of religion and belief, the report says. Ongoing surveillance of Christians by the authorities was often accompanied by harassment. The end of 2018 saw an unprecedented wave of raids on private house gatherings, leading to large numbers of arrests.
Many Christians received prison sentences, or had sentences upheld by the court of appeal. Most of the reported violations involved converts from Islam, but there were also several instances where members of the Armenian and Assyrian Christian minorities were imprisoned or sentenced to jail terms due to their religious activities. Recognized church buildings remained closed to ethnic Persian Christians and, in several cases, church property remained under threat of confiscation.
For nearly a decade, Persian Christians, who are generally converts from Islam, have been prohibited from entering official church buildings. They have consequently been forced to resort to informal meetings, frequently called “house churches”, which are regularly targeted by the security services.
This prohibition, and the subsequent targeting of house churches, not only constitutes a violation of the right to freedom of religion or belief, but also of the right of peaceful assembly and association.
Click here to read the full report.