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Dutch churches announce their solidarity with Iranian Christian refugees

ICC Note:

“A Dutch attorney who defends cases of Iranian Christian refugees pointed out that an Iranian Christian's life would be in danger if deported to Iran,” Mohabat News reports.

1/19/2012 Iran (Mohabat News) – A Dutch attorney who defends cases of Iranian Christian refugees pointed out that an Iranian Christian's life would be in danger if deported to Iran, and said, "During interviews with refugees, court officials often ask completely irrelevant questions".

According to Iranian Christian news agency, Mohabat News, news sources in Holland report that the attendees at a conference of representatives of churches in Holland on 16 January in Utrecht called on judicial authorities responsible for cases of refugees, to be more precise regarding the situation of Iranian Christian refugees.

They also suggested the judiciary should obtain advice from them regarding cases of Iranian Christian refugees whenever necessary.

Frans Willem Verbaas, an attorney for refugees who was present at the meeting, told the Reformatorisch Dagblad daily that during interviews with refugees, court agents often ask completely irrelevant questions.

He also stressed that Christian converts from an Islamic background would face the threat of death if sent back to Iran.

According to the website of International Radio of Holland, on April 2011, Uri Rosenthal, Dutch Foreign Minister said in a speech to representatives of different religions that, "Holland supports freedom of religion everywhere in the world". He also said, "Everyone, even people of the Middle East, should be able to enjoy freedom of religion and belief. Holland strongly supports such groups."

However, Verbaas thinks these statements by the Foreign Minister of Holland contradict the actions of Gerd Leers, the Minister of Immigrants and Refugees Affairs. In this regard he said, "They always try to send Iranian Christian refugees back to Iran, despite all the ongoing attacks on churches there.

Christians being chased

Verbaas who has represented many Iranian Christian refugees in Holland, said in an interview with the national journal of Triv, "After North Korea, Iran received second place on the Open Doors 2011 World Watch List for persecuting Christians. According to Sharia law, leaving Islam is punishable by death." Regarding the waves of arrest of Christians, Verbaas said, "There are many apostates among those who were illegally executed. All these matters indicate that Iranians who leave their religion will be recognized as refugees under the Convention for Refugees."

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