The 2024 Open Doors World Watch List was released in January, sharing the latest findings on Christian persecution around the globe and regions where being a Christian poses the most significant risks.
“As Christian persecution rises to the most significant levels in history, there’s an opportunity for us as believers to come alongside and support our brothers and sisters in Christ as they are enduring persecution for the sake of the Gospel,” said Open Doors US CEO Ryan Brown. “There is no better reminder than the annual release of the World Watch List that we need to stay informed about and in prayer for our persecuted family members throughout the world.”
This year, the Open Doors World Watch List reports over 365 million Christians face high levels of persecution and discrimination for their faith. This number is up from 360 million last year. This means that 1 in 7 Christians experience pressure or violence because of their faith in Jesus.
Once again, North Korea is the No. 1 country on the World Watch List. The southeast Asian country ruled by the Kim dynasty continues to crush any perceived threat to its authority, including religious belief. If they aren’t executed outright, Christians discovered in North Korea risk imprisonment in North Korea’s infamous network of labor camps. Pressure is constant.
Sub-Saharan Africa remains the most violent place in the world for Christians, and more than 82 per cent of Christians killed because of their faith were in Nigeria (ranked No. 6 on the 2024 World Watch List), according to Open Doors’ World Watch List research.
The research for Open Doors’ 2024 World Watch List has also exposed an alarming spike in the number of churches and Christian properties that were attacked or closed down during the research period. By far the largest number of churches closed down can be seen in China, where “house churches”—which in reality may be large congregations meeting in public—were targeted.
Open Doors 2024 World Watch List by the numbers:
- 4,998 Christians killed worldwide for their faith. This is a conservative estimate, as many violent incidents go unreported.
- A seven-fold increase in attacks on churches, Christian schools and hospitals from 2,110 (WWL 2023) to 14,766 (WWL 2024).
- Christians beaten or threatened increased from 29,411 reported cases (WWL 2023) to 42,849 on the 2024 World Watch List
- Attacks on homes rose 371 per cent from WWL 2023 figures (4,547 to 21,431)
- Christians forced out of their home or into hiding more than doubled from 124,310 (WWL 2023) to 278,716 (WWL 2024)
- One in 7 Christians worldwide face high levels of persecution and discrimination for their faith
“The 2024 World Watch List has revealed the reality of persecution against Christians around the world, and it compels media, government officials and everyday citizens to speak out,” said Brown. “The facts cannot be ignored, and the problem of global persecution against Christians has again been revealed as one of the most prominent human rights issues of our time.”
Open Doors is a global organization with 25 national bases that has supported and strengthened persecuted Christians for more than 60 years and works in 70 countries. For more information, visit opendoorsus.org
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