This situation is aggravated by “the impunity and political instability that contribute to the lack of justice.”
The fourth Latin American country and last on the top 50 list is Nicaragua, which currently is ruled by the dictatorship of President Daniel Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo.
“Roman Catholic churches are the most susceptible to [government] opposition,” Open Doors indicated.
In addition, “the government is particularly hostile to churches that provided shelter and care for people during the widespread protests that broke out against the country’s dictatorial regime in 2018.”
Topping the list published by Open Doors is North Korea, which continues to be a country “extremely hostile to Christians.”
“If discovered by the authorities, believers are either sent to labor camps as political prisoners where the conditions are atrocious, or killed on the spot — and their families will share their fate as well,” the report stated.
In North Korea, “Christianity is seen as a particular threat to the dictatorial ideology and governance of the country’s barbaric regime.”
North Korea is followed on the list by the majority Islamic countries of Somalia, Yemen, Eritrea, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, and Sudan.
Marco Cruz, director of Open Doors, believes that in order to address this extreme persecution “it’s necessary to know the reality that our brothers are facing,” he said.
In addition, he stressed the importance of responding to this violence “with extreme love.”
“This love prompts us to pray and act to respond to the needs of our brothers, helping them to remain steadfast in the love that casts out all fear,” he concluded.
(Story continues below)
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This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.
The Catholic News Agency (CNA) Staff are a team of journalists dedicated to reporting news concerning the Catholic Church around the world. Our bureaus are located in Denver, Washington, and Rome. We have sister language agencies in Kenya, Germany, Peru, Brazil, and Italy. CNA is a service of EWTN News. You can contact us at email@example.com with questions.