(Christian Today) Every day, 8 Christians worldwide are killed because of their faith.
Every week, 182 churches or Christian buildings are attacked.
And every month, 309 Christians are imprisoned unjustly.
So reports the 2020 World Watch List (WWL), the latest annual accounting from Open Doors of the top 50 countries where Christians are the most persecuted for their faith.
“We cannot let this stand,” said David Curry, president and CEO of Open Doors USA, during the 2020 list’s unveiling in Washington, DC. “People are speaking out and we have an obligation to hear their cry.”
The listed nations comprise 260 million Christians suffering high to severe levels of persecution, up from 245 million in last year’s list. Where It’s Hardest to Follow Jesus:
1. North Korea
Another 50 million could be added from the 23 nations that fall just outside the top 50—such as Mexico, Chad, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo—for a ratio of 1 in 8 Christians worldwide facing persecution.
Last year, 40 nations scored high enough to register “very high” persecution levels. This year, it reached 45.
Open Doors has monitored Christian persecution worldwide since 1992. North Korea has ranked No. 1 since 2002, when the watch list began.
The 2020 version tracks the time period from November 1, 2018 to October 31, 2019, and is compiled from reports by Open Doors workers in more than 60 countries. The list “provides the most comprehensive grassroots data on Christian persecution,” said Curry. “But it is much more than that. It is sounding an alarm.”
The Central African Republic (ranked No. 25 overall) ranks fourth in violence against Christians. Burkina Faso (No. 28) ranks fifth. Cameroon (No. 48, its first time on the list) and Mali (No. 29) join Egypt (No. 16), Colombia (No. 41), and Sri Lanka (No. 30) in rounding out the top 10. (Another Sahel country, Niger (No. 50), rejoined the list for the first time in five years.)
Sri Lanka rose 16 spots from No. 46 last year, primarily due to the Easter suicide bombings which killed over 250 people at Catholic and Protestant churches, and hotels.
But the year’s largest and most dramatic jump was in Burkina Faso, which jumped 33 slots after not even qualifying for the top 50 last year (it would have been No. 61).