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Vatican Reports to UN That One Out of Every Seven Christians Suffers Persecution

(ZENIT News – Aid to the Church in Need / Rome, 03.30.2023).- “One out of every seven Christians suffers persecution,” said Apostolic Nuncio Fortunatus Nwachukwu, the Holy See’s Permanent Observer to the United Nationals and other international organizations, in his address given in Geneva, during the 52nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council, as reported by “Vatican News.”

In the name of the Holy See, Nwachukwu, whom Pope Francis recently appointed Secretary of the Dicastery for Evangelization, focused on “the situation of many people and communities that suffer persecution because of their religious creed.”

“Peace also exacts universal recognition of religious freedom,” said the Prelate, quoting the Pope. “It is worrying that people are persecuted for the mere fact of professing their faith publicly, and that in many countries religious freedom is restricted. Close to one third of the world’s population lives in these conditions. “

Increase of Repression

Over the last years we have witnessed the recrudescence of repressive measures and abuses, including by National Authorities, against religious minorities in many countries of the world,” he added. “Often believers are denied the right to express and practice their faith, even when it does not endanger public security or violate the rights of other groups or individuals.”

Moreover, “the profanation and destruction of places of worship and religious sites, as well as violent attacks against religious leaders, have intensified recently and are ever more frequent.” On the other hand, though not less worrying, “is the condition of believers in some countries where, behind the façade of tolerance and inclusion, a more subtle and insidious discrimination is perpetrated,” said Monsignor Nwachukwu.

Subtle Discrimination and Censure

“In a growing number of countries , we witness the imposition of different forms of censure, which reduce the possibility to express one’s beliefs both publicly as well as politically, with the pretext of avoiding offending the sensibility of others,” he continued. 

“Thus, much space is lost for a healthy dialogue and also for public discourse. To the degree that this space diminishes, so does our capacity to express the fundamental right of religious freedom, as well as freedom of thought and conscience, which are also a prior indispensable requirement to attain peace and build a just society,” he concluded.