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Afghan Christian Refugees Face Probable Imprisonment or Death if Deported Back to Homeland

Washington, D.C. (May 13, 2011) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that seven Afghan Christians and their families who fled their homeland to India and were requesting refugee status were denied their requests by the UN in recent weeks and face deportation back to Afghanistan, where they risk arrest and possible execution for apostasy.

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) rejected or closed the applications of seven Afghan Christian families and individuals seeking refugee status in India after fleeing religious persecution in Afghanistan. Among the applicants was Aman, a husband and father of four, who has since received a letter authorizing his deportation from the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs.

Aman and his wife converted to Christianity from Islam eleven years ago, after which Aman studied at Zaraphat Bible College in Rawalpindi, Pakistan before returning to Afghanistan to work with an aid organization in Kabul. He fled the country to India after an Afghan television network broadcast footage of Afghans being baptized and participating in prayer services in May 2010. The broadcast led to protests throughout the country and a government crackdown against Afghan converts to Christianity.

After applying for asylum in India, Aman was told by the Deputy Chief of Mission at the UNCHR office in New Delhi on April 12 that he would be granted refugee status. However, a letter issued on May 6 stated that he had been denied based on failure to meet the criteria set forth in Article 6B of the UNHCR Statute which states that a person can receive refugee status if, “[he has a] well-founded fear of persecution by reason of his race, religion, nationality or political opinion and is unable or, because of such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of the government of the country of his nationality.”

The UNHCR office brutally closed and rejected some refugee applications of our community,” said a leader of the Afghan Christian community in New Delhi. “This is happening after all our efforts to inform and convince the UNHCR office that it is impossible to live as an Afghan Christian in Afghanistan if your Christian identity is revealed to the public and to the Afghan Islamic Republic. Apostasy is considered as a crime, an illegal action and a sin which is punishable by death by the Islamic Sharia Law that is the base of the Afghan Constitution.”

Our community is a persecuted and rejected community,” the leader continued. “We left behind all our belongings in Afghanistan just to save our lives by leaving Afghanistan. Here in India, we are receiving no legal and physical protection from the UNHCR office or the Indian Government. We are harassed, attacked, insulted and persecuted by Indian Muslims and thousands of Afghan Muslim refugees in this city.”

Aidan Clay, ICC Regional Manager for the Middle East, said, “As seen in the recent cases of Said Musa and Shoaib Assadullah, there are severe penalties under Afghan law, including imprisonment and potential execution, for Afghans who convert from Islam to Christianity. Aman, his family, and others whose applications were denied, will likely face a cruel punishment if they are forced to return to Afghanistan. We urge the UNHCR to reconsider these applications and for the Indian government to offer refuge to persecuted minorities who have fled to India for asylum.”

Write or call the UNHCR office in New Delhi to express your concern:

Ms. Montserrat Feixas Vihe
Chief of Mission
UNHCR (United Nations High Commission for Refugees)
14 Jor Bagh, New Delhi - 110 003
Fax: 0091 1143530460
Tel: 0091 1143530428 / 0091 1143530424
 
Applicants Name and Application Number: Aman, HCR/PL/513 - 10C01212

For interviews, contact Aidan Clay, Regional Manager for the Middle East: clay@persecution.org

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michelle-Hadson/1693902047 Michelle Hadson

        I am very surprised that this law about conversion to Christianity in Afganastan hasnt already been outraged by the American political advocates in government ....particually because it as a 'Christian nation ' or so called ,that is rescuing them right now ...from their oppressive muslim dictatorship .. its Christian principles and NOT muslim ones that are their greatest helpers right now !!
    so whats this world coming ? to I ask???

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_D3VPIVHOKQNHIHSRFDDZCTGZHQ luv_sftruk

     UNHCR are supposed to be helping the rights of persecuted people! What on earth is going on with these useless organization? Is it because they are from the Islamic countries that consist the Worst violator of Human Rights

  • http://twitter.com/sandiedo11 Sandra Dorsey

    Lord we pray for much favor for the Afghan Christians that seek asylum. Lord we know you are able to do exceeding and abundantly more than we could ask or think. Give them Hope when they feel hopeless, give me them strength when they feel weak. You are the lawyer in the courtroom. GOD THERE IS NOTHING TO HARD FOR YOU!!! I beseech you to touch the heart of the authorities and chop up their stoney heart and give them a heart of flesh in Jesus mighty name.

  • Rustamjanjan

    Hindos are the biggest enimies of the Muslims convert to christlianity becaue , they are good freind of karzai.karzai is ex Taliban man and he wants to presecutre this convernts .But, i think the head of the UN in New York should take action against theses hindo UNHCR workers most of whom follower or one of them at least have a muslim family at their home. and famous muslim in india like Irfan Patan sportsman and Sharhrukhan actor are theri favauroiuate

  • Rustamjanjan

    also sister sandra dont pray , becasue lord is says in bible when i was in jail u come in meet me , when i was thirsty you give me water and when i was hungry you give me food. when disaples ask when my lord he said u help any chrsitain and its same do to me. why jesus didnot said u pray  for me i am a muslim covnert to chriatyn and ia m proud of it . i live in newzealnd this govmernt is very kind but think about India . even in pasktian these refugeee get accepted but, not in india. orgainzation like ICMC helps msulkms not chriatins.convert ?? why why why we dont help our brotehrs and sister.Oh god why we cghriastin fight with eacah others .

  • Rustamjanjan

    also sister sandra dont pray , becasue lord is says in bible when i was in jail u come in meet me , when i was thirsty you give me water and when i was hungry you give me food. when disaples ask when my lord he said u help any chrsitain and its same do to me. why jesus didnot said u pray  for me i am a muslim covnert to chriatyn and ia m proud of it . i live in newzealnd this govmernt is very kind but think about India . even in pasktian these refugeee get accepted but, not in india. orgainzation like ICMC helps msulkms not chriatins.convert ?? why why why we dont help our brotehrs and sister.Oh god why we cghriastin fight with eacah others .

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