Nicaraguan citizens demonstrate against the detention of Bishop Alvarez Nicaraguan citizens demonstrate against the detention of Bishop Alvarez  (AFP or licensors)

Religious freedom violations take place in 1 out of every 3 countries

The Aid to the Church in Need Catholic Charity releases its 16th report highlighting the fact that over 4.9 billion people live in countries where religious freedom is under attack.

By Linda Bordoni

The authors of the Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) 2023 report released on Thursday, 22 June, in Rome, contextualise their findings within a tense global climate in which terrorist attacks, anti-conversion laws, financial crises, electoral manipulations and conflicts are on the rise.

Pointing out that over 4.9 billion people (that’s one in every three countries) are subject to increasing violations of religious freedom, ACN’s bi-annual report names 61 out of 196 nations where citizens are affected by a crackdown on their faith.

Three categories

At the top of the list are the countries classified in a “red” category that denotes religious persecution. According to the report, there are 28 of them, 13 of which are in Africa where the situation in many regions has drastically worsened.

The 33 “orange” category countries are those that show a marked pejorative change in status since the last report regarding discrimination mostly of religious minorities.

The third and last category is named “Under Observation” and includes countries where religious intolerance, discrimination and episodes of persecution are increasing.

Rising impunity

In most reported cases, the research shows, governments are applying controversial bills that limit religious freedom or discriminate against faith communities without protests being voiced. It also notes that violent attacks against the “wrong” religion are increasingly seen as “normal” and – in particular in Latin America – are not investigated by authorities.

In Nigeria and Nicaragua, it says, more and more religious majorities are being persecuted and a culture of impunity is on the rise.

Some of the other nations under the ACN spotlight are India, Pakistan, Iran, Myanmar, Mozambique, DRC, Mali and Burkina Faso.

The report notes that persecution against Muslims is globally on the rise as is antisemitism in Europe.


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22 June 2023, 16:13