World Watch List: 41
Leader: President Iván Duque Márquez
Population: 49 million
Christian: 47.2 million
Main Religion: Christianity
Source of Persecution: Organised Corruption
Open Doors supports the persecuted church in Colombia through:
- Christian literature development and distribution
- Children centres
- Socio-economic development
- Trauma support
- Emergency relief
“They told me in a very violent way that I and other pastors are now forbidden to pray for peace in our region, that if they knew of any prayer meetings going on, they will kill us all.”
– Pastor Andrés Galeano, an Open Doors partner in Buenaventura
Source of persecution: Organised corruption and crime / Ethnic antagonism / Secular intolerance
No peace despite the agreement
After the peace agreement signed between the Colombian government and rebel group FARC, other organised armed groups are fighting with the Colombian state and with each other over the areas left empty by FARC. These groups also engage in coca cultivation (for cocaine) and drug trafficking. Pastors and Christians who speak out against their criminal activities, work among youth, or are involved in defending human rights or implementing the peace agreement, even praying for it, are being threatened, harassed, extorted and even murdered. These groups attack Christians with impunity. Former members of these armed groups who abandoned their criminal life after becoming Christians also face retaliation. 16 Christians were killed in the WWL2020 reporting period. There were known for their opposition to these groups’ activities.
In indigenous communities, there is a significant opposition toward Christian missionaries and indigenous converts, who, as a result, face harassment, imprisonment, physical abuse and death threats. In order to prevent the further spreading of the Christian faith, tribal leaders would use all ways to stop converts from teaching their children about the Christian faith, and ultimately expelling them from the tribe.
Because of the radicalization of secularism, there is an increasing intolerance to Christian references and religious opinions in the public sphere — especially about issues concerning life, family, marriage and religious liberty — because they are considered discriminatory and “hate speech”.
- May God strengthen all those who follow the gospel, even as they face death threats, and violence all the time.
- For pastors and church leaders who are particularly targeted by the armed groups. Thank God for their courage, and pray that God will protect them and use them to achieve real peace in Colombia.
- In northeastern Colombia, armed groups have warned churches in the region that their goal is to see all Christian churches and pastors gone from the area. Pray that leaders and believers in these areas will be strengthened in their faith and that the plans of the armed groups will not work.