Christian group launches first-ever religious violence database tracking global persecution

By The Christian Post |
Uganda village
Damaged home of three Christian family members killed in Nyabitutsi village, Uganda on Dec. 25, 2023 | Morning Star News

A database tracking incidents of violent religious persecution worldwide has been launched by Global Christian Relief, a U.S.-based group monitoring Christian persecution. The Violent Incidents Database stands as the first and only events-based global religious freedom dataset of its kind.

The VID, accessible to the public, catalogs over a dozen types of violence, including killings, arrests, abductions, sexual harassment, pressure and forced marriages. It allows searches by country, religion and perpetrator, offering an unprecedented level of verification, the group says.

The perpetrators responsible for persecution include ethnic group leaders, extended family, government officials, ideological pressure groups, multilateral organizations, civilians, organized crime, political parties, religious leaders, revolutionaries or paramilitary groups, and violent religious groups.

The database, which began recording global reports of violent attacks in 2022, is currently tracking more than 6,000 incidents, according to GCR.

“This database helps give a voice to the voiceless by recording and sharing details of specific attacks suffered by Christians and other people of faith globally,” says GCR’s CEO David Curry. “Our hope is that this remarkable resource will be utilized by anyone advocating and reporting on behalf of the persecuted church.”

The Violent Incidents Database’s research is funded by GCR and conducted by the International Institute for Religious Freedom, a leading think tank in religious freedom.

“We live in a world where the violent persecution of Christians and other religious groups is rampant and increasing,” says Ronald Boyd-MacMillan, GCR’s Chief of Global Strategy and Research. “This database not only helps us track the violence but helps us better understand what persecuted Christians really need from their brothers and sisters around the world.”

The database will be featured at the International Religious Freedom Summit in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 30-31.

It will also contribute to the upcoming GCR Global Religious Freedom Index, a comprehensive tool launching this spring, the group says.

According to Aid to the Church in Need, over 4.9 billion people reside in countries with severe violations of religious freedom.

These 4.9 billion people live in 61 countries, where the state of religious freedom, as secured in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, looks grim, said an ACN report titled "Religious Freedom in the World Report 2023" that covered the period from January 2021 to December 2022.

“It means that 62% of humanity lives in countries where people are not free to practice, express or change their religion,” ACN said. “Culprits of religious freedom violations range from armed terror groups to authoritarian governments, but the rule continues to be one of impunity for attackers who are rarely, if ever, brought to justice or criticized by the international community.”

Of the 61 countries, 28 were marked in red, denoting “hot countries” where persecution is rampant, while an additional 33 were marked in orange, indicating high levels of discrimination.

The GCR’s VID aims to record violations of religious freedom, with an emphasis on tracking violence on five continents, but doesn’t claim exhaustive coverage, according to IIRF, which notes that the data is based on reports published in digital media available on the internet. “Many incidents are never made public or do not receive sufficient attention from authorities or media,” it acknowledges.

Originally published by The Christian Post