North Korea has once again been listed as number one on the top 50 countries where Christians suffer the most persecution, according to the 2024 Open Doors World Watch List.
"As Christian persecution rises to the most significant levels in history, there's an opportunity for us as believers to come alongside and support our brothers and sisters in Christ as they are enduring persecution for the sake of the Gospel," Open Doors US CEO Ryan Brown said in a statement. "There is no better reminder than the annual release of the World Watch List that we need to stay informed about and in prayer for our persecuted family members throughout the world."
North Korea, ruled by the Kim Dynasty, made the top spot on the annual report as Christian persecution runs rampant, either by execution or imprisonment in labor camps. Meanwhile, Nigeria ranked 6th on the list when it comes to Christian persecution.
“It’s heartbreaking to hear about what our brothers and sisters in Christ are experiencing in Nigeria and other parts of Sub-Saharan Africa,” Brown added. “Most of us can’t imagine what it’s like to live in fear for our very lives because of our faith in Christ, but what a testimony these faithful believers are to the rest of us. We must continue to remember them in prayer as well as emulate their faithfulness in our own contexts.”
The press release added that faith-related deaths in Africa “far outstripped those of any other region on the annual list,” noting that it “has been a trend for several years.”
India, which took the 11th spot, also saw a significant increase in Christian persecution, especially in Manipur. Following an ethnoreligious conflict in Manipur State, hundreds of Christians were killed while thousands more were displaced.
According to a press release, this year’s Open Doors Watch List found that over 360 million Christians are being severely persecuted and discriminated against for their faith. The reports also found 4,998 Christians around the world were killed for their faith.
When it came to attacks on churches, Christian schools and hospitals, there was a seven-fold increase in such attacks from 2,110 in the 2023 World’s Watch List to 14,766 in 2024. The number of Christians beaten or threatened rose from 29,411 to 42,849.
Additionally, attacks on homes soared from 4,547 to 21,431, while the total number of believers forced out of their homes or into hiding jumped from 124,310 to 278,716.
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Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.