Persecution is worsening
More than 365 million (one in seven) Christians face high levels of persecution for their faith – and persecution is becoming dangerously violent in countries on the World Watch List.
Attacks on churches and Christian properties sky-rocketed in 2023, as more Christians than ever recorded faced violent attacks.
Intense violence in Sub-Saharan Africa
Political instability, war and extremism has created a perilous situation for Christians in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Amid lawlessness, jihadist groups like al-Qaeda and Boko Haram have thrived. Weak governments fail to stop them. And militants attack Christian communities and churches with impunity.
Most Christians murdered for their faith in 2023 were killed in Sub-Saharan Africa. Nigeria accounted for nine out of 10 religiously-motivated murders. Christians were also killed in Congo (DRC), Burkina Faso, Cameroon and the Central African Republic (CAR).
Many more Christians have also been forced from their homes. Of 34.5 million displaced people across Sub-Saharan Africa, around 16.2 million are Christians.
Churches under attack
More than 14,700 churches or Christian properties such as schools and hospitals were targeted in 2023. It marked a seven-fold increase compared with attacks recorded the previous year.
In Asia, at least 10,000 churches were closed. In India, Christian properties were raided by violent mobs. And in Algeria, where there were 47 official Protestant churches, only four remain open and they are now under intense pressure.
These attacks put huge pressure on Christian communities, sparking fear and insecurity. Even if believers do regroup in smaller numbers, they have limited leadership and few resources.
Forced from home
In 2023, more than twice as many Christians were forced to flee their homes compared to the previous year. Political instability, war, extremism and natural disasters have all driven believers from their homelands across the Middle East and North Africa.
Believers are often more vulnerable than other displaced people because of their faith. In countries like Syria, Christians are easy targets for violence. Extremists attack churches and leaders, and put pressure on Christians to move on.