Further 365 million Christians worldwide, representing one in seven, face persecution and discrimination On the rise, as revealed by a recent report World Pursuit List (WPL) 2024 Prepared by the organization Open doors.
North Korea Such countries continue to be very hostile countries Somalia, Libya, Eritrea and YemenIt occupies the top positions in the list due to pressure and violence on Christian communities.
The report has evolved since its creation in 1993 to provide a comprehensive overview of the suffering faced by Christians. Highlighting extreme situations in Nigeria, Pakistan, Sudan, Iran and Afghanistan, focuses not only on violence but also on everyday oppression. Also, warns of rapid development of repression Nicaragua.
Among them the most important incidents are reported Mass arrests of converts and believersas well as Acts of violence against property and religious leaders Christians.
- North Korea: Retains its top spot on the 2024 World Torture List. “Pressure continues to the maximum in any area of a believer's life. “The widespread arrest of a Christian family in April 2023 demonstrates the very high cost of being a believer in this country,” Open Doors condemns.
- Somalia: It continues to rank second this year. “It has seen a significant increase in violence and intense pressure on the faithful in other areas.” Islamic militants are increasingly focused on identifying and eliminating Christian leaders. “The slightest doubt about converting from Islam to Christianity could put the person in danger of death,” the document explained.
- Libya: Places on the 2024 World Persecution List have risen due to increasing pressure and violence. “A major incident took place in May 2023 in which many converts from Muslim backgrounds and believers abroad were arrested,” the organization warned, adding that the absence of a central government to impose order and justice in the country has further exacerbated the situation. Very dangerous for Christians.
- Eritrea: The pressure on believers continues to be high, and has increased slightly over the previous year. Puertas Abiertas warns that harassment by the government is a major stressor.
- Yemen: “Despite the LMP losing two seats in 2024, with intense pressure in all areas of life, the situation in Yemen has barely changed,” the report says, adding that Yemeni Christians face freedom violations at the hands of their families and authorities (official officials and Houthi rebels, an Iranian-funded terrorist group that accounts for a third of the country's control the area), as well as radical Islamist groups
- Nigeria: Christians and their communities continue to be attacked in many parts of the country by radical Islamist groups and various gangs, and the level of violence is at an all-time high. In 2023, Bola Ahmed Tinubu replaced Muhammadu Buhari in power, but what this means for freedom of religion or confession in Nigeria is still unknown.
- Pakistan: Similarly, the report reveals that violence against Christians in Pakistan is at an extremely high level and that extreme pressure against Christians continues. “The ability of blasphemy laws to incite violence was exemplified in the city of Jaranwala in August 2023, where up to 21 churches were burned or vandalized, and hundreds of Christians were forced to flee their homes. Despite this violence, blasphemy laws have become more stringent,” the document reveals.
- Sudan: The report describes the outbreak of civil war in Sudan in April 2023 as making Christians more vulnerable: “Violent extremists used the chaos to attack Christians, seizing their churches and property.”
- Iran: The paper suggests that there were glimmers of hope as there were some pro-Christian court rulings, such as acquittals or reduced sentences, but they were followed by a mass arrest in July 2023. government, society and their own families,” the document warns.
- Afghanistan: It retains its place among the ten countries with the greatest persecution of Christians. “Although there have been some reports of faith-related violence against Christians, intense pressure remains constant in all areas of life. The Taliban seem to be outnumbered
- It is more interested in arresting and interrogating suspected Christians in order to identify their communication networks than in handing out outright punishments.
Although it did not make the list of the 10 most dangerous countries, the report devoted a special chapter to Nicaragua. Daniel Ortega. According to the complaint, the regime has intensified persecution against church members and Christian leaders. 30th place on the 2024 World Pursuit list, up 30 places from last yearThis reflects when it was ranked 50th This index is rising very fastIt assesses the persecution of Christians around the world.
Behind this hostility is growing authoritarian control The Ortega Murillo regime Since his election in 2006, and after the crackdown on the pro-democracy movement in 2018, religious repression has increased. In recent times, legal restrictions on religious freedom have become more pronounced, leading to the arrest of Christian leaders and the forced exile of some Catholic priests and bishops.
Especially, Bishop Matagalpa, Rolando Alvarez, a civil rights defender in the country, was sentenced to more than 26 years in prison in February 2023 before being deported last Saturday, stripped of his citizenship. systems like European union And this United States Dept As a result of these events the Nicaraguan government has been condemned and sanctioned UN Convention on Human Rights Nicaragua has identified the government's actions as crimes against humanity.
Charges against the archbishop include charges of “attack against national integrity” and “spreading false news”. These events have prompted international reactions, with the US imposing visa restrictions on officials associated with the regime.
Religious institutions, such as some Christian universities, have had their registrations revoked and assets confiscated, including the media in the sector. Cancellation of religious events in public places is also part of the measures imposed by the government.
These actions against the Christian community in Nicaragua reflect a trend of repression that negatively affects religious freedom and expression. The international community continues to express its concern over these human rights violations and continues to apply diplomatic pressure on the Ortega Murillo government for its authoritarian and repressive behavior.
Ortega described the church as a “mafia”. while, In a conversation with Infobae, Pope Francis described Sandinista as a “brutal dictatorship.”.
Along with the report, the organization also issued a follow-up Recommendations principles Religious freedom should be protected and improves stability weak pointsEspecially in areas like the Sahel, Iraq, India and Algeria.
Recommendations include allocating resources to stability in vulnerable states, enshrining religious freedom in international law, promoting interfaith harmony, abolishing laws restricting religious freedom, and demanding accountability in countries with records of religious violence or discrimination. Integrating religious freedom as an axis Foreign policy And this Diplomacyand conditional trade agreements and international assistance for the rights of religious minorities.
The initiative emphasizes affirmative action, such as integrating and questioning minority representation in stability efforts. Nigeria Before this in the next global periodic review UN Human Rights Council. The importance of education to counter radical narratives is highlighted and 18 of the article International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights It defines freedom of religion. It is requested that Iraq Fostering a community that promotes religious freedom and India Addressing intolerance and violence against religious minorities.
Since 1993, Open Doors has produced an annual World Persecution List, which categorizes countries where it is most difficult to live the Christian faith. The report is compiled by regional experts and audited by an external organization specializing in religious freedom.
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