Open Doors World Watch List 2022 Report
On Wednesday 19 January, Open Doors launched its annual World Watch List for 2022. Each year, Open Doors compiles a report which sets out the 50 countries where it is most dangerous to be a Christian, and which describes trends in persecution that affect Christians and other religious minorities worldwide. Normally held in Parliament, restrictions meant that the launch took place online again this year, with 93 MPs represented.
In a dramatic change, Afghanistan is now the most dangerous country in the world to be a Christian, displacing North Korea for the first time in two decades – though the situation in North Korea has not improved.
The report also describes how the global persecution of Christians has reached its highest level since the World Watch List began nearly 30 years ago. More than 360 million Christians now suffer high levels of persecution and discrimination for their faith – 20 million more than last year. One Christian in every seven suffers in this way worldwide.
At the launch, an Open Doors fieldworker from China described the increasing digital surveillance and persecution of the church in that country. We also heard from Illia Djadi, an expert from Open Doors International, about the growing violence against Christians in sub-Saharan Africa Responding to the report, Fiona Bruce MP, the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief, expressed her gratitude to Open Doors for its work, and restated the Government’s commitment to promote Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB).
That commitment is particularly important this year, as the Bishop of Truro’s report on the persecution of Christians and the FCDO’s response is due to be reviewed, and the International Ministerial to Advance FoRB takes place in London in July. We hope that the World Watch List report will inform fresh efforts to promote FoRB and tackle persecution worldwide.