In brief

  • North Korea (1) tops the World Watch List for the 18th year in a row. Despite its ranking in the top slot it did free three Korean-American Christians from a North Korean prison.
  • Persecution of Christians is getting worse. Five years ago only one country – North Korea – was ranked in the ‘extreme’ category for its level of persecution of Christians. This year, 11 countries score enough to fit that category.
  • China (27) has risen 16 places in the list after new Regulations for Religious Affairs came into force in February 2018.
  • In Myanmar (18) tens of thousands of members of the Karen tribe – a majority-Christian ethnic tribe – have been killed and least 120,000 displaced.
  • India (10) has entered the top ten for the first time. The BJP-led government continues to promote an extremist militant Hindu agenda.
  • In Turkey (26) President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been stirring up ultra-nationalistic sentiment for some time and this has caused added difficulties for Christians in Turkey, especially Evangelicals.
  • As radical Islam has been forced out of the Middle East, it has spread into sub-Saharan Africa. Almost 30 violent Islamic extremist groups are known to be active in the region.
  • Islamic militants also have also gained strength in failed states like Somalia (3), Libya (4) and Yemen (8), where they continue to recruit, and capture pockets of territory.
  • The two places where Christians suffer the most violence are Nigeria (12) and Pakistan (5).
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