Every year, UNE considers a large number of appeals and requests for reversal from asylum seekers who claim they risk persecution because of their religion or religious activity. The cases encompass a broad range of countries and religions. The majority of cases concern people who claim to be Christian converts from Iran or Afghanistan.
The topic of this memo is the right to refugee status pursuant to the Immigration Act Section 28 first paragraph (a) for reasons of religion. In order to be recognised as a refugee, the appellant must have a ‘well-founded fear of persecution’ because of his ‘religion’ and have no means of obtaining protection in the country of origin. If the appellant is recognised as a refugee pursuant to Section 28 first paragraph (a), he is entitled to asylum pursuant to Section 28 second paragraph.
This memo specifies the bases and main lines of practice. It does not provide a detailed description of all the assessments made by UNE in practice or of the situation for the specific group in the specific country.
The memo was originally based on a review of 400 decisions for appellants from 20 countries. The update is based on a review of 250 decisions. The bulk of the decisions concern Christian converts from Iran and Afghanistan. There is therefore a particular focus on these cases in the memo. The memo has been updated after the Supreme Court ruling on the 3rd of June 2021 (HR-2021-1209-A) and the ruling on the 5th of May 2022 (HR-2022-925-A). In the judgment, the Supreme Court explains the burden of proof and key parts of the assessment of evidence in convert cases. The guidelines given by the Supreme Court will be followed by UNE. The judgment is therefore discussed in this note.
The memo does not address the right to refugee status pursuant to the Immigration Act Section 28 first paragraph (b) or residence on humanitarian grounds pursuant to Section 38.