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Iran: Religious Freedom

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 31st October 2019.

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Photo of David Drew David Drew Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what monitoring his Department has undertaken of prison sentences imposed on Christian ministers and other religious figures by the Government of Iran on the basis of that people in those positions present a risk to national security.

Photo of Andrew Murrison Andrew Murrison Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development)

We are aware of reports about the continued harassment and mistreatment that the Christian and other minority groups face. The continued restrictions on freedoms of expression, religion and belief are deeply worrying. While some religious minorities are formally protected in the constitution, the reality is that many non-Muslims face discrimination. Despite constitutional recognition, the persecution of Christians has been continuous, systemic, and institutionalised.

We support the assessment of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights that discrimination against the Christians in Iran is sanctioned by a lack of constitutional recognition and the absence of other legal protections for adherents of this faith. We regularly call upon Iran to cease harassment of all religious minorities and to fulfil its international and domestic obligations to protect freedom of religion or belief. Work has begun to implement the recommendations from the Bishop of Truro’s Review in a way that will bring real improvements in the lives of those persecuted because of their faith or belief.

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