News

215 million Christians face persecution worldwide

Cliona Connolly
16.03.2017 - 13:05
Persecuted Christians in the Middle East (2011)

215 million Christians face religious persecution worldwide, EPP Group Members heard at a meeting with Michel Varton, Director of Open Doors, a leading NGO working to prevent the persecution of Christians, in Strasbourg today (Thursday). Co-Chair of the EPP Group's Working Group on Intercultural and Interreligious Dialogue, Jan Olbrycht MEP, described the latest statistics as shocking and very frightening and condemned all acts of violence or any form of persecution against persons due to their religious beliefs.

"Religious persecution can be inflicted on Christians in the form of physical violence which is tragically very apparent in many areas of the world, but also by applying societal pressure whereby Christianity is quashed by law, by culture, or when Christians or newly converted Christians are pressured to renounce their faith," Mr Olbrycht said in Strasbourg.

Open Doors has found that 215 million Christians face religious persecution around the world, while 948 were killed in 2016 due to their religious beliefs. The NGO's World Watch List 2017 further states that Christians have been most devastated by the chaos in the Middle East, their numbers reduced from 20 percent of the population to just 5 percent because of violence, persecution and emigration to escape conflict. Southeast Asia has also been listed as a hotbed of religious persecution.

"The 10 countries listed as having the highest occurrence of persecution against Christians under the 2017 World Watch List are North Korea, Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen and Eritrea. Europe cannot turn a blind eye to such atrocities and we must continue to keep the issue of the persecution of Christians or persecution of any religious persons high on the agenda," Mr Olbyrcht added.

The latest research shows that 1,188 Christian churches were vandalised or attacked in the last year, including 97 in Europe.

MEPs Involved

Latest

Europe, concept of security
26.04.2017 - 11:11

Social market economy in the heart of Europe

“Enjoying equal access to the job market with fair working conditions and adequate and sustainable social protection should be within reach of...
Life jackets for refugees going to Greece
25.04.2017 - 12:16

Unifying standards for the reception of asylum seekers

Reform of European Asylum System: MEPs want access to the labour market after two months A new law on EU standards for the reception of applicants...
Step up fight against Russian anti-EU fake news
25.04.2017 - 11:15

Step up fight against Russian anti-EU fake news

The EU must combat Russian undercover efforts to hijack politics in the West by coordinating its counterintelligence efforts and by providing more...
Surfing on the Internet
25.04.2017 - 10:56

Europe to invest in free public Wi-Fi

"We need to meet the growing demand of connectivity from Europe’s citizens." "I am pleased that the plans to invest in...

Highlights of the week

24.04.2017 - 28.04.2017
Turkish flag

Plenary debate on the situation in Turkey

At its mini-Plenary on Wednesday, the European Parliament will discuss the situation in Turkey, particularly focusing on the constitutional...
Scissors cutting ethernet cable connecting globes

Ending unjustified geoblocking

Members of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee will vote on a Report authored by Róża Thun MEP on Tuesday on geoblocking,...
Refugee Camp

Dealing with asylum applications - a clear set of rules needed

Standards for the reception of applicants for international protection will be voted on in the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs...