Religious Freedom in the World: Belarus, Greece and Russia are the Worst in Europe

сцягOne third of all world population suffering from persecutions or discrimination based on faith are Christians. 200 mln of Christians suffer the persecution for their faith another 50 mln suffering from discrimination, states the Religious freedom in the world report 2014, published by the “Aid to the church in need” foundation. The report covers the period from October 2012 till June 2014.

81 of 196 countries (41%) are the countries with a high or medium level of religious unfreedom. In 35 countries (18%) several religious questions raise certain concern. In 80 countries (41%) none systematical or regular religious freedom violations have not been revealed.

20 countries were marked as the countries with a “high level of religious persecution”. At the same time the ersponsibility for the persecutions in Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Lybia, Maldives, Nigeria, Pakistan, CAR, Somalia, Syria, Sudan and Yemen lies on islamists, in Azerbaijan, China, North Korea, Eritrea, Myanmar and Uzbekistan – on the authorities.

Only 6 from 196 analyzed countries have shown an improvement in the situation with religious minorities security: Iran, UAE, Cuba, Qatar, Taiwan and Zimbabwe.

Among the Europena countries the situation is the worst in Belarus (the state of affairs worsened), Greece (worsened) and Russia (the state of affairs did not change). Among the post-Soviet countries the religious freedom situation is the worst in Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.

As an example of religious freedom violation in Belarus an episodes are given in the report of pression on the “New Life” Pentecostal church, a Catholic priest Uladzislaw Lazar being arrested by KGB, police raids against the unregistered Baptist churches, a repressive law on the “Freedom of conscience and the religious organisations”.

“In Belarus, religious freedom is tied to preserving the rights of the Orthodox Church, which is closely aligned to the state. Other religious groups, by contrast, are subject to constant state controls. Religious freedom in Belarus deteriorated in the period under review. The two million people facing persecution include Catholics, Pentecostals, Baptists and other Protestants, Jehovah’s Witnesses and others”, – states the report.