World Watch List 2021

Open Doors International, an institution that studies the reality of persecuted Christians around the world has just launched the World Watch List 2021.

The list presents those countries where it is most challenging to be a Christian. The private, family, community, national, and church life of Christians is studied to identify pressure situations that put them at risk or impede the free living of their faith. Furthermore, it analyzes and presents various contexts of violence against Christians in the world.

The World Watch List 2021 shows that in 74 countries of the world “More than 340m Christians suffer high levels of persecution and discrimination for their faith. In Open Doors’ World Watch List top 50 alone, 309m Christians face very high or extreme levels. That is one in 8 worldwide, 1 in 6 in Africa, 2 out of 5 in Asia, and 1 in 12 in Latin America.”

Country scores are expressed on a scale from 0 to 100.

Among the top countries with a high degree of persecution are North Korea (94), Afghanistan (94), Somalia (92), Libya (92), Pakistan (88), Eritrea (88), Yemen (87), Iran (86), Nigeria (85), India (83), Iraq (82), and Syria (81).

Two countries in Latin America make up the top 50 countries around the world where it is most difficult to be a Christian. Colombia ranks 30th and Mexico ranks 37th. In both countries, Christians are vulnerable to organized crime, persecution within indigenous communities, and a highly secularized context that sometimes endangers the free manifestation of Christian faith in the public space.

The 2021 rank for other Latin American countries where it is particularly difficult to be a Christian include Cuba (51st), Nicaragua (63rd), Honduras (67th), and El Salvador (74th).

The World Watch List is produced by World Watch Research, the research department of Open Doors. More information can be found on their website Open Doors Analytical (password: freedom). It has a compilation of main documents, a section with the full country dossiers of all countries mentioned in the WWL 2021, and an explanation of the methodology.

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The Observatory of Religious Freedom in Latin America is a program of the Foundation Platform for Social Transformation, a registered charity in Voorburg, The Netherlands under Chamber of Commerce #50264249.

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