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Holy See confirms investigation of Order of Malta

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Central African Republic and Syria see biggest increase in persecution of Christians

2014-01-10

The yearly report from non-denominational NGO Open Doors International shows the persecution of Christians in 2013 has especially worsened in countries like Syria and the Central African Republic.

The group released the World Watch List. It ranks the top 50 countries, according to the level of oppression or persecution of Christians, and how often it happens. 

North Korea topped the list for the 12th year in a row. Rounding out the top five are failed states facing insurrections or ongoing conflicts: Somalia, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Not surprisingly Syria moved up to the top of the list. Last year it was ranked at 11, but civil war violence targeting Christians brought it up to the third spot.

Pakistan also made the top ten, landing at number eight. Saudi Arabia and the Maldives are number six and seven, while Iran and Yemen take up the ninth and tenth spot.

Outside the top ten offending countries, the most noticeable change is the inclusion of the Central African Republic. It makes the list for the first time, at number 16. Sectarian tensions there turned into full-scale fighting between Muslim and Christian militias, despite U.N. Intervention. Other new countries to the list are Sri Lanka at 29 and Bangladesh at 48.

Several countries have seen dips in violence or oppression in 2013, at least for the time being. Noticeably, Mali moved from the seventh to the 33rd spot, after the French intervention against Islamist rebels. However, the risk of persecution remains high in many of these countries, despite small improvements.

You can view the full report here.


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