Iran: How the Judicial System is used to Target Religious and Ethnic Minorities

Five Iranian Christians were arrested by Iranian Intelligence (VEVAK) Officers on 26 August while picnicking with their wives in a private garden in Firouzkooh, an area 90 miles east of Tehran. They were not holding a religious service. They were simply enjoying a picnic. Now they are detained in Evin Prison in Tehran.

Since President Rouhani came to office in August 2013 there has been an increase in the number of religious minorities imprisoned on account of their faith. The rise in harassment, arrests and restrictions on freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) are a major concern for non-Muslims, converts to Christianity, members of the Baha’i faith and minority Muslim groups.

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North Korea and Human Rights: A State of Denial

‚ÄúThere is almost complete denial of the right to freedom of thought conscience and religion as well as the right to freedom of opinion, expression, information and association.‚ÄĚ That was the conclusion reached by the United Nations commission of inquiry into human rights in North Korea over two years ago. Indeed, the UN inquiry went further, noting that the regime in North Korea ‚Äúconsiders the spread of Christianity a particularly severe threat‚ÄĚ and as a result, ‚ÄúChristians are prohibited from practising their religion and are persecuted‚ÄĚ. Severe punishments are inflicted on ‚Äúpeople caught practising Christianity‚ÄĚ.

Loyalty to the Regime is expected

Our new report ‚Äď Total Denial: Violations of Freedom of Religion or Belief in North Korea ‚Äď provides further evidence that freedom of religion or belief is a human right that is ‚Äúlargely non-existent‚ÄĚ in the country. The ruling Kim dynasty is deified. Pictures of the three generations of dictators ‚Äď Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong-Il and now Kim Jong-Un ‚Äď are displayed in private homes and public spaces, cleaned daily and inspected regularly by the authorities to ensure they are in the best condition. Allowing one of these photographs to decay or gather dust is akin to a blasphemy. Anything less than total loyalty to the ruling family is severely punished.

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