World Watch List 2017
Where are Christians most persecuted?
Every year, Open Doors publishes the World Watch List, the list of the top 50 places where it's hardest to be a Christian. See our World Watch List to find out where Christians are most persecuted.
What is the World Watch List?
The World Watch List (WWL) is an indexed list of the top 50 countries in the world where it is most difficult to be a Christian. The WWL is used by media agencies right across the world when reporting on Christian persecution.
The WWL measures the types of persecution Christians experience from the government, community and even their own families. It also accounts for the restrictions Christians face in their private lives and their ability to meet and worship with other believers.
How is the World Watch List measured?
Our World Watch Team measures over 70 countries from 1 November – 31 October each year through a series of questionnaires. We distinguish two main expressions of persecution: pressure and violence.
Pressure measures life for Christians in five spheres: Private life, family life, community life, national life and church life.
Violence measures the number of violent incidents that occur during the reporting period.
Each country is given a score for each of the five spheres and number of violent incidents. That adds up to give a score out of 100, giving each country a World Watch List rank.
What types of persecution do Christians face?
We have eight broad categories that we use to measure persecution:
Islamic Oppression - Any violent or non-violent action used to bring Christians under Islamic rule.
Religious Nationalism - Using the majority religion of a country (usually Hinduism and Buddhism, but also orthodox Judaism or other religions) to imply Christians do not qualify as citizens
Ethnic Antagonism - Using cultural and tribal norms based on traditional religion to suggest Christians are outsiders.
Denominational Protectionism - To maintain one’s Christian denomination as the only legitimate expression of Christianity in the country.
Communist/Post-Communist Oppression - To monitor and control churches through a system of biased registration.
Secular Intolerance - To eradicate Christian expression from public life and impose an atheistic secularism.
Dictatorial Paranoia - Does everything to maintain power, including tearing down organised groups–like Christians.
Organised Corruption & Crime - To create a climate of anarchy and corruption as a means for self-enrichment. Christians will often speak out against this and become targets.
How many Christians are persecuted?
Approximately 215 million Christians in the WWL 2017 top 50 countries experience ‘high’ levels of persecution for their faith.
What makes the World Watch List reliable?
The World Watch List is accepted as an authoritative study and audited externally by the International Institute for Religious Freedom.
The World Watch Team is made up of one director and five persecution analysts who focus on a particular region. Each are experts in their fields of study with postgraduate or doctoral qualifications.
What Is Christian Persecution?
Christian persecution is any hostility experienced as a result of proclaiming the name of Jesus.
It can look different for each of the millions of believers who face persecution every day. Some experience rejection and isolation from their families, friends and communities. Others are denied access to basic needs like water, food and health care. Some face violent abuse, imprisonment and even death.
Open Doors exists to serve and strengthen persecuted Christians.