Today, Open Doors released the World Watch List 2015, a resource developed “to track and measure the extent of persecution in the world.” Open Doors has been tracking religious persecution of Christians since the 1970s and their approach to the work is well-informed and reliable. Religious persecution affects many religious groups and not just Christians. Still, there has been widespread recognition over the past few years that religious persecution of Christians is on the rise globally (see my earlier posts on Iraq, Syria, and the trials of Christians in the MidEast).
You can see an infographic of the list below and can read the entire report here. Christianity Today also has a nice overview of the watch list today in the article, “‘Not Forgotten’: The Top 50 Countries Where It’s Most Difficult to be a Christian.”
Here are a few highlights within the overall trends on this year’s list:
- “The Top 10 countries where Christians face the most pressure and violence in the reporting period of the WWL 2015 are, in order: North Korea, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Sudan, Iran, Pakistan, Eritrea and Nigeria.”
- North Korea continues in the #1 position, as it has for the past decade and more
- Kenya (a majority Christian nation) and Djibouti have the highest jump in persecution ranking this year, from positions in the 40s to the 20s
- The impact of the group known as the Islamic State has strongly impacted the persecution levels in both Iraq and Syria. This includes a dramatic flight of Christians from these countries to other havens for safety.