Asylum claims of converts

A Conversion to the Christian faith may attract persecution in the country of origin of an asylum seeker. If that is the case, a conversion can be a ground for asylum. A difficult issue is, however, the assessment of sincerity of conversion by immigration officials. Gave is much involved in a campaign on this issue, see the page Converts & asylum.

Support by churches

A conversion based asylum claim can be supported by statements from churches, but bear in mind the following (which holds In the Netherlands and perhaps elsewhere also):

  • Statements from churches may support the claimant's own statements made at the interview but cannot replace them.
  • Statements must be about the claimant's faith. It is nice to note that someone helps a lot in church in many practical ways, but that is no evidence of a genuine belief. Statements should rather demonstrate the keen interest and growth in biblical understanding and the claimant's expression of his faith during Bible study meetings, personal conversations or in evangelism. Reference should be made to clear examples from the church's experience with the claimant.
  • When a claimant has been baptized or is to be baptized at your church, make clear why the church decided that he is fit for baptism and what procedure you follow to arrive at such conclusion. It is most helpful if you can demonstrate that you do not 'baptize on demand'. 
  • Statements can be helpful especially when they are submitted with the handing in of the asylum claim rather than in court after a claim has been rejected. 

No hurry

Gave wishes to emphasise that churches should not rush into things and resist pressure from a both the claimant and his lawyer. 

  • Statements should only be drafted on the basis of a genuine relationship with the claimant as a result of his commitment to the church over a period of at least a couple of months.
  • Do not baptize a claimant earlier than you would do (according to your policy) when there would be no interest in an asylum claim. If needed, explain in your statement that the claimant is growing in his faith and that baptism may be expected to take place at a term of so many weeks or months (according to your policy). 
  • It is important that the claimant understands the importance of a solid preparation of his (new) conversion based asylum claim and that this preparation is his own responsibility. 

Preparation for a conversion based asylum claim

Gave promotes a programme that helps converts preparing themselves for a (new) asylum claim. 

  • The basic idea of this 'buddy programme' is that new converts support each other, thus relieving the church from this responsibility.
  • The programme encourages the converts to record their spiritual development in a diary so as to raise their awareness of their own spiritual growth. This will help them speaking about their growth in faith during the interview.
  • Further introduction and explanation are available online. Please note that updates may be posted at times.