The recent report published by the Aid to the Church in Need Foundation reveals that more than 60% of the world’s population lives in countries where religious freedom is not fully guaranteed.
Newsroom (26/06/2023 15:00, Gaudium Press) The recent report published by the Aid to the Church in Need Foundation reveals that more than 60% of the world’s population lives in countries where religious freedom is not fully guaranteed.
The study, which covers the period from May 2021 to December 2022, was recently published and brings startling figures about religious intolerance around the world.
The survey by the Aid to the Church in Need Foundation divides countries into four different categories according to the assessed degree of intolerance or persecution.
Three Severity Categories
The red category, which groups the most extreme countries in terms of religious persecution, has 28 nations in the 2023 report, corresponding to approximately 4.04 billion people (51.06% of the world population).
The orange category, which groups countries where religious discrimination is common, has 33 countries that are home to about 853 million people. An “under observation” category groups the countries in which there are worrying factors regarding the fundamental freedom of religious practice.
The two most populous countries in the world, China and India, where religion is severely controlled and persecuted, stand out among the cases analyzed for violations of religious freedom. In addition to these countries in Asia, the new 2023 report also ranked Nicaragua and Sudan on the red category list, due to increased persecution and hostility by the authorities.
Persecution, Discrimination and Intolerance
While the red category emphasizes the authority of rulers who are intolerant of religious minorities, the orange category mainly groups countries where protection and justice are not guaranteed to religious minorities. The 2023 document includes three new countries in this list: Israel, Haiti, and the United Arab Emirates.
The category of countries “under observation” refers to nations where some freedom related to religion is not fully guaranteed, such as the freedom to change religion and the freedom to manifest beliefs. The drafters of the report warn that Fundamental Rights are gradually degraded, hence the need for vigilance at the slightest sign of violation.
The “under observation” category categorizes countries where isolated attacks against religious targets, vandalism, discrimination, or even killings have occurred. In 2021, eight new countries were added to the list: Argentina, Guinea-Bissau, Benin, Burundi, Essuatini, Ghana, Indonesia, and Madagascar.
New Presentation Methods
The 2023 report presents a new approach to its methodology. Previous studies focused on making a geographical analysis of religious freedom. The new report prefers to approach the topic according to a progressive scale of severity, ranging from manifestations of religious intolerance, through discrimination to persecution.
The full English language version of the report can be found on the Aid to the Church in Need website. (FM)
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Compiled by Florence MacDonald