Religious freedom report reveals worsening global persecution

Religious freedom

A new report has revealed that 61 countries encompassing 62% of the world’s population severely or totally restrict religious freedom.

Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) has released its latest edition of the Religious Freedom Report, shedding light on the increasing persecution faced by individuals and communities worldwide.

The report, published every two years since 1999 by the international Catholic foundation ACN, remains the sole non-governmental source covering religious freedom across all faiths.

Compared to the previous report, the situation has worsened in 47 countries, while only nine have shown signs of improvement.

Religious minorities bear the brunt of this oppression, sometimes facing a genuine risk of extinction.

Terrorism, cultural suppression, economic discrimination and legal constraints create a suffocating environment in their homelands.

However, some majority religious groups also endure persecution, as evidenced in Nigeria and Nicaragua.

Offenders operate with impunity

The instigators behind these violations range from armed terror organisations to authoritarian governments. Disturbingly, these offenders often operate with impunity, rarely facing justice or international condemnation for their actions.

Africa accounts for half of the countries with the most severe religious freedoms. According to the report, this is due to the spread of jihadist groups across the continent and the expansion of “opportunist caliphates”.

Asia, too, presents a worrying situation, with China’s continued attempt to exert totalitarian control over all aspects of society including religion.

India exhibits state-sponsored ethno-religious nationalism, which manifests in harsh anti-conversion laws among other forms of repression.

While the focus often falls on Africa and Asia, many western nations display concerning trends. The rise of cancel culture and increasing social and political pressure to conform to ideological norms raises alarm bells.

Regina Lynch, the newly appointed executive president of ACN International, emphasises that the report’s primary goal is to inspire action and support for those enduring religious persecution.

Lynch highlights the power of prayer, sharing information, advocating for victims, engaging with politicians and staying informed about realities in different parts of the world as crucial steps toward effecting change.

“The ACN Religious Freedom in the World Report seeks only to provide information and analysis about the abuse of this fundamental human right worldwide. It is a tool. The tool is only as good as those who take it up, share it with others and work to effect change,” Lynch asserts.


ACN International

La Croix International

CathNews New Zealand

Additional reading

News category: World.

Tags: , , ,