Sudan urged to stop death penalty for woman who converted to Christianity

Sudan-womanWASHINGTON, D.C. — The General Board of Church & Society of The United Methodist Church calls upon the government of Sudan to set aside the sentence of capital punishment handed down to Meriam Yahya Ibrahim Ishag for converting to Christianity. We strongly denounce this sentence and urge the government of Sudan to meet its obligations under international human rights law and its own Constitution.

In addition to the death sentence, the court in Khartoum also sentenced Ms. Ishag to be flogged for adultery because she “illegally” married a Christian man.

We call on the government of Sudan to respect Ms. Ishag’s right to freedom of religion, a human right acknowledged by Sudan’s Constitution. That right is also stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights.

The United Methodist Church has long stood for religious freedom for all people. Our Social Principles “urge policies and practices that ensure the right of every religious group to exercise its faith free from legal, political or economic restrictions.” The United Methodist Church condemns all overt and covert forms of religious intolerance.

Since 1999, the U.S. State Department has designated Sudan as a “Country of Particular Concern” for its violations of human rights and religious freedom. We urge the government of Sudan to fulfill the promise in its own Constitution of religious freedom for all of its citizens.

The General Board of Church & Society is one of four international general program boards of The United Methodist Church. Prime responsibility of the board is to seek implementation of the Social Principles and other policy statements on Christian social concerns of the General Conference, the denomination’s highest policy-making body. The board’s primary areas of ministry are Advocacy, Education & Leadership Formation, United Nations & International Affairs, and resourcing these areas for the denomination. It has offices on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., and at the Church Center for the United Nations in New York City.

For more information, contact Bill Mefford, Director of Civil & Human Rights, General Board of Church & Society at

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