Persecuted and Forgotten? 2015 – 2017

Persecution against Christians in the worst-affected regions reached a new peak, the impact of which is only now beginning to be felt in all its horror.

Targeting of religious belief – driven by hatred of Christians and the faith itself – emerges as a common denominator in hundreds of testimonies of persecution received by Aid to the Church in Need from countries around the world. As a Catholic charity providing emergency and pastoral relief in 140 countries, ACN is committed to chronicling and assessing the evolving phenomenon of persecution against Christians around the world today.

Although the precise number of Christians persecuted for their faith remains unclear, reports showing a fall in the number of deaths during the period under review to below 100,000 nevertheless highlight that the violence against followers of Jesus Christ remains severe.

Persecuted and Forgotten? 2015-17 assesses both the nature of the threats to Christians and the underlying causes. It identifies trends and, where possible, predicts future developments. This report has revealed evidence of the most serious persecution against Christians in terms of violations of fundamental human rights: violence, including rape, unlawful detention, unfair trial, prevention of religious assembly and peaceful (religious) expression.

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Main Findings

  • In almost all the countries reviewed, the situation for Christians has declined since 2015 as a result of violence and oppression. This is especially significant given the rate of decline in the immediate run-up to the period under review. The one exception is Saudi Arabia, where the situation was already so bad it could scarcely get any worse.
  • In Iraq, the exodus of Christians is so severe that one of the world’s oldest churches is on course to all but disappear within three years unless there is dramatic change for the better.
  • This same exodus is threatening the survival of Christianity in parts of Syria including Aleppo, formerly home to one of the largest Christian communities in the whole of the Middle East.
  • Daesh (ISIS) and other Islamist militant groups have committed genocide in Syria and Iraq.
  • Governments in the West and the UN failed to offer Christians in countries such as Iraq and Syria the emergency help they needed as genocide got underway. If Christian organisations and other institutions had not filled the gap, the Christian presence could already have disappeared in Iraq and other parts of the Middle East.
  • Daesh affiliate Boko Haram has carried out genocide against Christians in northern Nigeria.

Christian Persecution – find out more

Persecuted and Forgotten?
Country Profiles

Statistics, incidents and Country profiles featured in the Persecution and Forgotten? A report of Christians Persecution and Oppression in the World 2017 .


Persecuted and Forgotten?
Faces of Persecution

Individual stories of Christian suffering and oppression featured in  Persecution and Forgotten? A report of Christians Persecution and Oppression in the World 2017 .


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