More than 60 percent of the world’s population of more than 7.5 billion reside in countries where the right to religious freedom is obstructed or denied. An estimated 505 million Christians face persecution for following their faith, a Catholic NGO Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) report indicated this week.
“For simply belonging to the wrong religion, countless numbers of people have been killed; many others have disappeared and still more have been imprisoned indefinitely,” John Pontifex, the report’s editor-in-chief, said.
On Thursday, a press release on the 14th edition of ACN’s Religious Freedom in the World Report, which this year covers all religions in 196 countries over a two-year period up to and including June 2018, declared:
The report—noting that respect for religious freedom is on the decline worldwide—finds that 61 percent of the world’s population live in countries where the right to religious freedom is obstructed or denied outright. The report estimates that some 327 million Christians live in countries where they face religious persecution, with another 178 million suffering some form of discrimination because of their faith.
ACN found non-state actors in countries like India, China, and Myanmar have exacerbated a boost in hatred against faith minorities.
Citing an increase in “aggressive ultranationalism” in countries like India and Russia — by either hardline governments or violent extremist groups — ACN reports that religious freedom is declining in one out of every five nations in the globe, which amounts to a total of 38.
Of the 38 countries, ACN discovered incidents of religious persecution in 21, including Niger, Myanmar, India, and China, as well as acts of discrimination in 17 other countries, such as Algeria, Turkey, and Russia.