People of faith are persecuted for religious beliefs and practices around the world, whether they are Buddhist, Muslim, Christian, Hindu or other. In today's world Christians are the largest group of people being persecuted for their faith. More than 100 million people in over 60 nations are being denied their basic human rights because of their Christian faith.
Our primary responsibility as Christians is to worship God and obey him. Obedience to God includes following biblical teaching to pray and worship with other Christians, and to speak to others about our faith. We are to remember those who are persecuted for their faith. "Remember me in my chains," pleads the Apostle Paul in Colossians 4:18.
In partnership with evangelical groups in Canada and around the world, the EFC monitors the persecution of Christians and seeks to raise the profile of religious persecution as a serious human rights violation with government and in the media.
Members of Parliament are able to express concern about religious persecution and ask for religious freedom to be respected through correspondence or during international visits. Parliamentary committees frequently study the state of human rights in other countries.
All international human rights documents protect religious freedom. Article 18 of the UN Universal Declaration on Human Rights, to which Canada is a signatory, states, "Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance."
Canada has a strong record on advocating for the protection of human rights internationally and often takes a leading role in the global arena. The Canadian government has made a public commitment to taking action on human rights issues, including religious persecution, but has only taken limited action at this point.
Each year, the US Report to Congress on International Religious Freedom reports on the status of religious freedom in each country around the world. As well, Open Doors publishes the World Watch List, an annual report that ranks countries by the severity of persecution.