A report on Christians oppressed for their Faith 2017–19


Period under review: July 2017 to July 2019 (inclusive)

Persecution of Christians in core Middle East countries such as Syria and Iraq has declined greatly following a period of genocide earlier in the decade.


The impact of this genocide (continuing migration, security crises, extreme poverty and slow recovery) means that it may now be too late for some Middle East Christian communities to recover. In some towns and cities, the countdown to Christianity’s disappearance is ticking ever louder.


The international community, while showing unprecedented concern regarding persecution, is running out of time if it wants to save Christianity in many parts of the Middle East. Measures taken to date may not be enough to secure the future of the Church’s presence there.


From Nigeria in West Africa to Madagascar in the east, Christians in parts of Africa are threatened by Islamists seeking to eliminate the Church – either by use of force or by dishonest means, including bribing people to convert.

Persecution against Christians has worsened the most in South and East Asia. This is now the regional hot spot for persecution.
Church attacks in Sri Lanka and the Philippines show that there is now an unholy trinity of threats facing Christians in South and East Asia: Islamic extremism, popularist nationalism and authoritarian regimes.

An increasing unity of purpose between religio-nationalist groups and government represents a growing – and largely unrecognised – threat to Christians and other minorities in India, Sri Lanka, Burma (Mynamar) and other core countries in South and East Asia.


Around the world, Christians are a favoured target for violent militant extremists who operate without boundaries and who perceive local Christians as a legitimate alternative to a direct strike on the West.


= Situation improved
= Situation unchanged
= Situation worsened
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A snapshot of a deepening crisis

Cardinal Joseph Coutts

Archbishop of Karachi, Pakistan

“Persecution of a religion can take on many forms. It could be like the direct brutal attacks carried out by Daesh (ISIS) in Iraq and Syria against Christians and Yazidis, or it could take on more subtle  forms such as discrimination, threats, extortion, kidnapping and forced conversion, denying  of rights or curtailing of freedom.”

Main Findings

This 2019 edition of Persecuted and Forgotten? examines key developments in 12 countries of core concern for Christians suffering human rights abuses. Covering a 25-month period from July 2017 to July 2019 (inclusive), the report draws on fact-finding trips carried out by Aid to the Church in Need staff to countries noted for persecution against Christians, for example northern Nigeria, Pakistan, Syria and other parts of the world which cannot be revealed because of security concerns. This report shows that, again and again, in Egypt, Pakistan and elsewhere, Christian women suffer the most, with reports of abductions, forced conversions and sex attacks.

Case Study

ACN supports more than 5,000 projects in around 140 countries each year, helping Christians live out their Faith wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need.