By BosNewsLife Asia Service

Several Christians have been put on trial in Afghanistan for converting from Islam.
Several Christians have been prosecuted in Afghanistan for converting from Islam.

NEW DELHI, INDIA (BosNewsLife)– There was concern Sunday, May 15, that India would deport seven Afghan Christians and their families back to Afghanistan where they risk detention and execution for abandoning Islam, after the United Nations refused to grant them refugee status, representatives said.

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) reportedly rejected or closed all applications of the Christians fleeing religious persecution, saying they did not fulfill the criteria for such protection.

Among the applicants was a Christian only identified as Aman, a husband and father of four, who has since received a letter authorizing his deportation from the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs, said U.S.-based advocacy group International Christian Concern (ICC), which has close contacts with the Christian refugees.

Indian officials could not immediately be reached for comment.  Aman and his wife reportedly 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 Afghan television aired 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, Christians said.

Aman was allegedly told by the Deputy Chief of Mission at the UNCHR office in New Delhi on April 12 he would be granted refugee status, but the later denied his request.

In a published May 6 letter the UNHCR said Aman did not meet criteria of Article 6B of the UNHCR Statute which states that a person can receive refugee status if there is “a well-founded fear of persecution by reason of his race, religion, nationality or political opinion.”

Additionally, the person must be “unable or, because of such fear, unwilling to avail himself of the protection of the government of the country of his nationality.”


In New Delhi representatives of the Afghan Christian community condemned the “brutal” rejection of refugee status at a time when “apostasy”, or abandoning Islam, “is considered 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.”

Afghan Christians have said they receive no legal protection from the UNHCR or Indian government and are facing harassment by Indian Muslims and thousands of Afghan Muslim refugees.

Rights activists said they are concerned the Christians will face a similar fate as former prisoners Said Musa and Shoaib Assadullah, who faced the death penalty but recently escaped Afghanistan amid international pressure. “Aman, his family, and others whose applications were denied, will likely face a cruel punishment if they are forced to return to Afghanistan,” said ICC Regional Manager for the Middle East, Aidan Clay.

He said his organization has urged the UNHCR to reconsider “these applications and for the Indian government to offer refuge to persecuted minorities who have fled to India for asylum.”


  1. This is too terrible to read. India is overfilled with refugees from the neighbouring countries,
    but deliberately refusing refugee status to these totally helpless people is rather an inhuman
    act of the Indian government.


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