Report set to highlight scale of persecution of Christians

  • Written by:

By Clare Creegan
THE impact of violence, persecution and exodus on Christians in the Middle East and elsewhere will be highlighted in a wide-ranging report due to be released by a leading Catholic charity.
Aid to the Church in Need will next week publish Persecuted and Forgotten? A Report on Christians oppressed for their Faith 2013-15, assessing the situation in 22 countries where there are grave violations of religious freedom including physical attacks, kidnappings and murders.
The report, which will be launched on Tuesday, 13th October, makes a direct comparison with the situation two years ago.
In making its assessment, the analysis draws on in-country reports, witness testimonies, interviews with bishops, Sisters and lay people.
This research material is compared with evidence from NGOs with expertise in the field.
The launch of Persecuted and Forgotten? 2013-15 comes at a time of increasing concerns for the future of Christianity in parts of the Middle East where numbers have plummeted.
With previously published research already showing Christianity to be the world’s most persecuted religion, the ACN report will show the growing impact of extremism in Africa, the Asian sub-continent and elsewhere.
Persecuted and Forgotten? 2013-15 also assesses the problems facing Christians and other religious minorities in countries such as China and Vietnam where historically atheistic regimes continue to put pressure on faith groups.
The report launch, on Tuesday, 13th October, takes place in the House of Lords at a meeting chaired by Christian persecution expert and campaigner Lord David Alton of Liverpool, a trustee of Aid to the Church in Need.
Speakers at the launch include Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Holy See’s Permanent Observer to the United Nations in Geneva and UK Foreign Office Minister Tobias Ellwood MP who has responsibility for the Middle East.
Witnesses of persecution will give their testimonies including Archbishop Jean-Clement Jeanbart of Aleppo, Syria, teenager Victoria Youhanna, who escaped Boko Haram militants in northern Nigeria and Timothy Cho who has experience of persecution in North Korea.
John Pontifex, Editor-in-Chief of Persecuted and Forgotten? 2013-15, will outline the report’s findings.

• On Wednesday, 14th October at 7.30pm the Persecuted and Forgotten? 2013-15 report will be presented in Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, Mount Pleasant, Livepool L3 5TQ, with speakers including Archbishop Jeanbart, Timothy Cho and Neville Kyrke-Smith, UK National Director of Aid to the Church in Need.
• On Thursday, 15th October, following Mass at 7pm, the report will be presented at St Mary’s Cathedral, 20 Huntly Street, Aberdeen AB10 1SH, Scotland with speakers including Victoria Youhanna and Aid to the Church in Need project partner Father Ziad Hilal who has provided emergency help in Homs, Syria. Also speaking will be Iraqi priest Father Douglas Bazi who survived torture by Al Qaeda extremists and who is coordinating ACN aid for refugees in the north of the country.
• ACN’s Westminster Event takes place on Saturday, 17th October with Mass at 10.30am in Westminster Cathedral, Ambrosden Avenue, London SW1 1QW followed by talks in the cathedral hall. Entry is ticket only. Speakers include Archbishop Jeanbart, John Pontifex, Father Douglas Bazi, Neville Kyrke-Smith and Victoria Youhanna.

Notes for Editors:

The Aid to the Church in Need Persecuted and Forgotten? A Report on Christians oppressed for their Faith 2013-15 will be launched on Tuesday, 13th October 2015 at 3.30pm. For information about the report and the speakers, contact ACN’s Press and Information team on 020 8661 5175 or 020 8661 5167 or mobile 0781 559 1427 or email or

Directly under the Holy See, Aid to the Church in Need supports the faithful wherever they are persecuted, oppressed or in pastoral need. ACN is a Catholic charity – helping to bring Christ to the world through prayer, information and action.

Founded in 1947 by Fr Werenfried van Straaten, whom St John Paul II named “An outstanding Apostle of Charity”, the organisation is now at work in more than 140 countries throughout the world.

The charity undertakes thousands of projects every year including providing transport for clergy and lay Church workers, construction of church buildings, funding for priests and nuns and help to train seminarians. Since the initiative’s launch in 1979, Aid to the Church in Need’s Child’s Bible – God Speaks to his Children has been translated into 176 languages and more than 51 million copies have been distributed all over the world.

Aid to the Church in Need UK is a registered charity in England and Wales (1097984) and Scotland (SC040748). ACN’s UK office is in Sutton, Surrey and there is a Scottish office in Motherwell, near Glasgow.