Serving Persecuted Christians Worldwide - World Watch List 2020: 260 million Christians face persecution in Top 50 countries - Open Doors UK & Ireland
15 January 2020

World Watch List 2020: 260 million Christians face persecution in Top 50 countries

260 million Christians are facing persecution in the top 50 World Watch List countries, and persecution is getting more severe.

The persecution of Christians is getting more severe than ever, affecting increasing numbers of believers around the world. That’s one of the findings of the newly published World Watch List, which reveals the 50 countries where Christians face the most persecution.

A staggering 260 million Christians in the top 50 countries on the World Watch List face high or extreme levels of persecution for their faith. That’s 15 million more people than the previous year. Open Doors estimates that there are another 50 million Christians facing high levels of persecution in a further 23 countries outside the top 50. Persecution comes in many forms, from the Easter Sunday church attacks by Islamic extremists in Sri Lanka, to a believer being denied their rights or ostracised by their family and community.

North Korea remains the most dangerous place in the world to be a Christian, having been at number one since 2002. Owning a Bible could mean that you and your whole family are put in horrific concentration camps, or killed.

Each year, the publication of the World Watch List is an opportunity to pray for and support Christians around the world. The 50 country profiles include background information, recent developments, testimonies from courageous Christians and ways that supporters can respond through prayer and gifts. 

“Thanks to your support, the secret believers experience that God loves them and provides in everything they need,” says Sang-Hwa*, a North Korean Christian.

The World Watch List is based on an analysis of faith-based persecution in five spheres of life, from private life to the national laws, and the scale of violence believers face for their faith. 

To speak to our Media team, please contact: 07484000441

*Name changed for security reasons


Lord, we can barely imagine what it’s like to follow You in a country so oppressive as North Korea – but thank You that You are sovereign and victorious despite this. Please continue to grow Your church and give solace to Christians who are in prison, courage to those who are secret believers and protection to Open Doors secret workers providing Bibles and vital support. Break the power of evil in North Korea, we pray.

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