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Persecution of Christians is getting worse, EU special envoy warns

Thu 27 Oct 2016
By Antony Bushfield

There's a warning that the persecution of Christians around the world is getting worse as International Freedom of Religion or Belief Day is marked.

The European Commission's special envoy on the issue, Jan Figel, told Premier "it's getting worse because up to 75% of the world population" is not granted freedom of faith.

He said that most of the world's population was still oppressed when it came to religion: "Therefore, those who believe that humanity should prevail can, and should do, much more for freedom of religion."

In the past year there have been several high profile cases of Christians being persecuted in countries like Pakistan and Iraq.

The ongoing crackdown on churches and church crosses in China is also a concern for many experts on the issue.

Charity Open Doors said that worldwide there were over 7,000 Christians killed for faith-related reasons in 2015 but added these were only documented cases and the figure would be much higher.

Around 2,400 churches were attacked or damaged in the same period.

Figel added: "We are witnesses of a systematic and mass murder, martyrdom and persecution on several territories.

"This crime of crimes is calling for all serious people to do more."

The issue will be discussed by politicians and experts during a special event in the Houses of Parliament on Thursday.

Jan Figel speaking to Premier's Antony Bushfield:

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