The growth rate of persecution has doubled compared to 2023. The NGO’s results Open doors on the persecution of Christians in the world reports a worrying trend, calculated on the basis of figures of acts of physical violence, discrimination or oppression against Christians. Today, one in seven Christians is persecuted worldwide.
78 countries affected by the persecution of Christians
In 2024, the index lists 78 countries affected by persecution. North Korea is at the top of the listlike every year with the exception of 2022. In the dictatorship of Kim Jong-un, there is no space of freedom for Christians.
Behind it, the index ranked Somalia, Libya, Eritrea. Sub-Saharan Africa remains the region where the most Christians are killed because of their faith. Of the total 4,998 Christians who died in 2023, more than 80% were killed in Nigeria. In its report, the NGO highlights the growing threat from Islamic extremists. “Christians in the sub-Saharan region are specifically targeted or particularly vulnerable on a continent facing the dual problem of the rise of Islamic extremism and a rise of autocracy,” analyzes the director.
Harmful state policies
Across the Atlantic, communist oppression is observed as a “mechanism of persecution of Christians”. Cuba and Nicaragua are particularly concerned. Faced with the hostility of Daniel Ortega’s dictatorship against the Nicaraguan church, the Vatican closed its diplomatic representation. On Sunday January 14, fifteen priests and two bishops were expelled, one of whom, Mgr Rolando Alvarez, is one of the last voices of opposition to Ortega.
Explosion of attacks against churches
Religious buildings are also a prime target. The total number of churches or public Christian properties that have suffered damage (destruction, looting, etc.) has exploded. 2,110 cases were recorded in the 2023 Index compared to 14,766 in that of 2024. China closed around 10,000 churches while 2,228 places of prayer were attacked in India.
Hope despite everything
Despite the alarming findings of the report, some glimmers of hope were noted. Thus, the new Constitution in Mali, whose population is 95% Muslim, introduced the principle of secularism. A drop in violence has been observed in Colombia, although the situation remains unstable.
The report in figures
- One in seven Christians are persecuted worldwide
- 4,998 Christians were killed in 2023
- 4,125 are detained, half of them in India
- 14,766 churches were targeted