There is a new World Watch list of the top 50 countries in the world that see the most Christian persecution.

The World Watch list was started by the ministry Open Doors back in 1992, and ever since, North Korea has been in the number one spot for the hardest place to live as a Christian. In 2022 North Korea took second place as Afghanistan moved into the first spot after the Taliban took over the government. 

However, for 2023 North Korea is back in the top spot when it comes to the extreme persecution of Christians and Afghanistan has moved all the way to number nine. 

"[In Afghanistan], those Christians who have not fled the country have been forced deep underground," according to the website. "If discovered, they face death."

One man who escaped from North Korea, Timothy Cho shared what it's like to live in the country as a professing Christian. 

"Christians have always been in the front line of attack for the regime," says Cho. "Their aim is to wipe out every Christian in the country. There can only be one god in North Korea, and that is the Kim family."

The list when up on January 17 on the Open Doors website. The top ten countries that experience the most persecution for Christians are:

  1. North Korea
  2. Somalia
  3. Yemen
  4. Eritrea
  5. Libya
  6. Nigeria
  7. Pakistan
  8. Iran
  9. Afghanistan
  10. Sudan

"More Christians are killed in Nigeria than in all the other countries of the world combined," says Open Doors. "And the violence is getting worse."

India comes in at number 11 and it is also under the red category, which means extreme levels of persecution. 

According to Open Doors, 5,621 people were killed for their faith in 2022. Today, more than 360 million Christians face persecution for their faith, with 312 million facing extreme persecution. 

Latin America has also seen a rise in persecution with Nicaragua landing at number 50, the first time it's been on the World Watch list. It joins other Latin American countries on the list including Columbia at 22, Cuba at 27, and Mexico at number 38. 

"Despite the danger in all these countries, the church is not defeated. It is living, powerful, defiant. For over 65 years, Open Doors has stood with this church."