Open Doors will release its 2013 World Watch List of 50 countries that are the worst persecutors of Christians on Tuesday, January 8, 2013, during a press conference in Washington, DC.
“The annual World Watch List has raised awareness of the plight of persecuted Christians for many years,” says Open Doors USA interim President/CEO Steve Ridgway. “It is important to get this information out to the public so it can look beyond the headlines and be a voice for those who are often voiceless in places such as North Korea, Syria, Egypt and Nigeria. For instance, there are 50 000 to 70 000 Christians out of an estimated 200 000 political prisoners inside the North Korean gulags.”
For the past 10 years, the hermit communist country of North Korea has topped the list. Last year Afghanistan was No 2 followed by Saudi Arabia. Rounding out the top 10 were Somalia, Iran, Maldives, Uzbekistan, Yemen, Iraq and Pakistan.
The World Watch List ranks countries according to the intensity of persecution Christians face for actively pursuing their faith. It is compiled from Open Doors’ indigenous contacts, field workers and persecuted believers based on answers to questions covering various aspects of religious freedom.
An estimated 100 million Christians worldwide suffer interrogation, arrest and even death for their faith in Christ, with millions more facing discrimination and alienation. Open Doors supports and strengthens believers in the world’s most difficult areas through Bible and Christian literature distribution, leadership training and assistance, Christian community development, prayer and presence ministry and advocacy on behalf of suffering believers.