Christians remain one of the most persecuted religious groups in the world, experiencing imprisonment, loss of home and assets, rape, torture, beheadings, and other forms of murder because of their identification with Jesus Christ. Across the 50 countries on the 2019 Open Doors World Watch List (@OpenDoors) (#2019WWL), more than 245 million Christians now experience high, very high, or extreme persecution; an increase from 215 million in 2018.
In its 27th year, the list—which is the world’s definitive assessment of religious persecution based upon in-depth, rigorous analysis of on-the-ground, first-person research—remains a global indicator of where human and religious rights are being violated, and those countries most vulnerable to societal unrest and destabilization.
- 1 in every 9 Christians in the world experiences high levels of persecution for their faith (1 in every 6 African Christians and 1 in every 3 Asian Christians).
- North Korea tops the list for the 18th year in a row.
- Algeria had the highest year-over-year increase in persecution against Christians.
- Russian Federation and Morocco are newcomers to this year’s list.
- Islamic oppression fuels persecution in 8 of the top 10 countries on the 2019 Open Doors World Watch List.
- Bahrain and Djibouti fell out of the top 50.
- Pakistan and Nigeria had the most violence recorded against Christians, with Central Africa Republic close behind.
- Iraq and Malaysia showed the most significant improvement since last year.
Top 20 Countries Persecuting Christians
- North Korea
- Saudi Arabia
- Myanmar (Burma)
“Open Doors continues to see ominous persecution trends against Christians,” said David Curry, president and CEO of Open Doors USA. “Islamic radicalism continues to dominate and influence all spheres of life for Christians, and we are watching China and India very closely. The distressing impact of billions of people living in an environment in which the government oppresses freedom of religion is unraveling day by day as millions of Christians are being attacked, imprisoned or killed. Open Doors will continue to walk alongside these Christians and advocate on their behalf for human rights we take for granted in America.”
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