The anti-persecution Charity, Open Doors UK & Ireland, has welcomed the announcement by Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt that he has ordered a review into the plight of persecuted Christians around the world and how much help they get from the UK. The charity estimates that in 2018 over 215 million Christians were persecuted because of their faith.
Open Doors CEO Henrietta Blyth said:
“I am delighted that this review will look into the persecution of Christians and the fact that Christians often cannot access aid because they face persecution in the very places that are offering help. We know this happened in the aftermath of the Indonesian earthquake just a couple of months ago. It’s common knowledge that Christians fleeing the conflict in Iraq and Syria did not go to refugee camps because of widespread persecution inside those camps – instead they stayed outside the camps, struggling to survive. “
“Persecution of Christians is a key issue of our time – we must act to be the voice for those who are so often voiceless because of the persecution they suffer. This review is a great first step and offers real hope for change at a time when UK trade is to be negotiated internationally. Through these negotiations the UK has an opportunity to ensure countries enshrine freedom of religion or belief and change attitudes in their societies so that all religious minorities can enjoy a better future.”
Open Doors will release its 2019 World Watch list, ranking the 50 countries where persecution of Christians is worst, on 16 January 2019. Many expect North Korea, which has been number 1 for the last seventeen years,to remain at the top of the list – it is estimated that 70,000 Christians are held in detention camps there. The World Watch List is put together bypersecution analysts who review data from 150 countries to provide a rankingwhich is then audited by independent experts. Data is gathered on five spheres of life – private, family,community, national and church life – plus a sixth sphere measuring the degreeof violence impacting Christians. Persecution in each country is recorded byOpen Doors using a point system.