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Persecution of Christians

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:04 pm on 6th February 2020.

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Photo of Brendan O'Hara Brendan O'Hara Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Inclusive Society) 2:04 pm, 6th February 2020

It is a pleasure to speak in this hugely important debate. Although not too many Members are present, I know that there are many others who, if not here in person, are certainly with us in spirit. I include in that my hon. Friend Angus Brendan MacNeil, whose work on reuniting refugee children informed him about much of what we will be debating this afternoon. I thank him, and so many other Members, for being such a powerful voice in speaking up for the millions of persecuted Christians around the world. Sadly, that voice is more necessary now than ever, as it seems that anti-Christian discrimination and persecution are on the rise. That was brought home to many of us who attended the launch of the 2020 Open Doors report just last month.

As we have heard, every year the charity Open Doors publishes its world watch list of the 50 worst-offending countries when it comes to the persecution of their Christian communities. The list makes particularly depressing reading. As we have also heard, the 2020 report says that, from Colombia to China, a staggering 260 million Christians face extreme or high levels of persecution. A further 50 million face persecution in 23 other countries that are named, including Mexico, Chad and the Democratic Republic of Congo. That means that more than 300 million Christian people are living in fear of practising their faith, and it appears to be getting worse.