Persecution is real. It is a daily reality for more than 245 million Christians worldwide. How do we know this? Every year, Open Doors produces the World Watch List to rank the top 50 most dangerous countries to live in as a Christian. It is the product of both desk and field research and is the only document of its kind. Independently audited by the International Institute of Religious Freedom, it is the most trusted source of information concerning persecuted Christians.
Globally there are 2.48 billion Christians. Out of these, approximately 245 million or 1 in every 12 Christians in the Top 50 countries of the World Watch List, is considered to be suffering from “extreme” levels of persecution, according to the Open Doors 2018 World Watch List (WWL), released today.
Every year, Open Doors publishes the World Watch List, the list of the top 50 countries where it’s hardest to be a Christian. The WWL measures the types of persecution Christians all over the world experience from their government, community and even their own families. It also accounts for the restrictions Christians face in their private lives, their ability to meet and worship with other believers, as well as the physical violence they are subjected to.
From roughly 2006, and accelerating from 2012, the List has recorded more persecution of Christians around the world each year. Partly this reporting has become more possible as digital technology has enabled global communication. The technology has also enabled stricter government monitoring of its citizens. This year more countries than before have risen on the List without scoring significantly in the ‘violent incidents’ sphere of research. This points to greater structural, legal and societal restrictions, manifesting in discrimination and hostility, aside from violent attacks on people and property ending in death or destruction.