A new report presented to the United Nations shows the extent Christians are persecuted in Iran.
The report, produced by team of UN investigators, details the persecution of members of the Christian minority in Iran and names 24 Iranians who are currently in jail
The report was sent to Iran’s government in November, but was only made public after the dictatorship failed to respond within the 60-day deadline.
The report explains that Iranian Christians are often tortured, denied legal rights and discriminated against by the Iranian government and society.
“Those arrested – in some cases without even being presented with a warrant – are subjected to repeated and lengthy interrogations, often without the presence of a lawyer,” the report reads.
“They are humiliated and physically or psychologically ill-treated by the interrogation officers for their decision to change their faith, being labelled and stigmatized as ‘apostates of Islam’ and pressured to renounce Christianity and to sign commitments to not meet with other Christians.”
It is illegal to convert to Christianity in Iran, with punishments ranging widely from fines to death sentences. Many Christians practice in secret, but it is estimated that there are 800,000 believers in the Islamic Republic.
True North contributor and UN watchdog Mattea Merta says Iranian Christians deserve a voice at an international level.
“I appreciate the UN Special Rapporteur stating that he is “particularly concerned” about the “criminalization of freedom of religion or belief and the repressive methods applied by the Iranian state agencies, including the Ministry of Intelligence and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, to suppress the right of members of Christian communities to observe, worship and teach their faith,” she said.
“Bringing to light the various forms of persecution Christians in Iran helps humanize the discrimination they face at the hands of Iran’s government to the general public.”