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
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).