How to cook turkey for Christmas? - The assessment of conversion based asylum claims in European countries

This report was published and discussed at the 2014 European Religious Liberty Forum.

Introduction

At the Dutch Gave Foundation we have been campaigning for about three years for the improvement of asylum procedures and decisions concerning Christians from Muslim countries. In October 2013 a query from the Finnish Evangelical Alliance was brought to our attention. They were looking for training materials for immigration officials re how to assess asylum seekers who are claiming to be Christians in fear of persecution.

Although we do not have proper ‘training materials’ as such, we do have documentation that can be helpful, although it will need translation and adaptation to national policy. Furthermore, we thought it wise to bring the issue to a European level as we were convinced that this would be an issue in all countries. Hence the idea to raise and discuss the subject at the European Liberty Forum.

As preparation for the Forum, we launched an online survey so as to gather information about the policies and experiences in the various countries. So far we received twelve responses from nine countries. In spite of the limited response, the survey provides a helpful overview of what is going on in various countries and the results are summarized in this paper. Where possible, the input from the survey is complemented by private communication and relevant publications.

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