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The key findings in this report are:
• Persecution continues to escalate. In 2019, 40 of the 50 World Watch List countries have been designated as countries where Christians are at risk of very high or extreme levels of persecution
• Approximately 245 million Christians living in the top 50 countries experience high levels of persecution or worse
• A range of vulnerabilities such as gender, age, class and ethnicity are intersecting with religious identity to create a toxic cocktail of widespread persecution in the World Watch List top 50 countries
• Around the world a range of actors are finding ways to clamp down on religious identity and public worship by suppressing the right to association, freedom of expression, and the right to a fair trial, among other fundamental human rights
• The situation in Asia continues to escalate, as China climbs the World Watch List from 43 to 27 and India enters the top ten for the first time in the history of the World Watch List
• 2018’s prediction that South East Asia was emerging as a hotbed of persecution is set to be fulfilled in 2019 as the situation in Myanmar and Indonesia worsens
• Once again, Nigeria saw the highest number of Christians killed for their faith, with approximately 3,731 killed in the reporting period of this year’s World Watch List.
• For the first time since 2011, Russia enters the World Watch List
• Morocco is back on the World Watch List, for the first time since 2014, and is ranked at 35
• A considerable rise in persecution in Algeria means it has shot up the list from 42 to 22
• Hope is to be found in Iraq as its violence score improves. Iraq slips out of the top ten for the first time since 2010.
Persecution continues to escalate worldwide:
• Approximately 245 million Christians are at risk of high, very high or extreme levels of persecution
• Over 1,000 Christians in China have either been detained without trial or unfairly arrested
• 3,731 Christians have been killed in Nigeria for their faith.
FoRB is the issue of our time. Violations of that right are not found in isolation or on a small scale, instead they are wrapped up in some of the world’s greatest challenges. From the rise of Daesh in the Middle East to Boko Haram in Nigeria, to the overspill of criminal activity into community life in Latin America and the growing Hindu nationalist rhetoric of the Indian government affecting Muslims, Christians and Sikhs alike – violations against people’s international right to FoRB are all too commonplace.