One in seven Christians persecuted: Open Doors

One in seven Christians persecuted: Open Doors

The Christian Non Government Organisation Open Doors says that one in seven Christians worldwide face persecutuion and discrimination for their faith.  

Open Doors has released their World Watch List for 2024. According to Open Doores,, the total number of Christians now persecuted is rising to five million in the last 12 months.  

The chief executive of Open Doors Australia and New Zealand, Adam Holland, said the rise of Islamic extremism and autocratic regimes was unleashing a new wave of violence against Christians. 

“Our government must raise the plight of persecution of Christians with the leaders of countries where this violence exists, and seek that urgent action be taken to stop it. This is especially the case when these attacks occur in countries where Australia has a close relationship as well as strong trading ties,” he said.  
Mr Holland said in many countries, there was no safe place for Christians, with attacks on Christian churches, schools and hospitals rising seven-fold and attacks on the homes of Christians spiking 371 per cent in the past year.   

He said that the persecution of Christians in India and China, two of Australia’s key trading partners, was rising sharply. 

“Tragically, we saw a nine-fold increase in the number of Indian Christians killed, with the number of deaths rising from 17 last year to 160 in 2023. And the number of attacks on churches and Christian schools spiralled from 67 last year to 2,228 while attacks on houses doubled to 180,” Mr Holland said. 

“China closed thousands of churches through a set of old and new authoritarian measures.” 

Among the key findings of the World Watch List 2024 were:  

  • The number of Christians killed in faith-related attacks last year was almost 5,000, but the death toll was likely to be much higher with so many killings going unreported or deliberately hidden. 
  • The rate of persecution and discrimination against Christians is the highest in Asia, where 2 in 5 Christians are suffering. 
  • Of the 50 countries where persecution and discrimination are the worst, North Korea ranked first, ahead of Somalia, Libya, Eritrea, Yemen, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sudan, Iran, and Afghanistan.  
  • Violent persecution was most acute in sub-Saharan Africa, where most Christian killings were perpetrated.  

Mr Holland said governments must do more to protect Christians and to intervene to ensure there is freedom of religion for all people. 

The World Watch List is an index based on the levels of violence, the degree of government restrictions, and the amount of social hostility towards Christians. The list draws on research, data from Open Doors field workers, their in-country networks, external experts, and persecution analysts to quantify and analyse persecution worldwide. 


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