22Last year’s rank
51 513 000Christians
49 002 000Main Religion
Colombia has risen eight places on the World Watch List this year, largely because of the increase in violence, including murders. Pressure has also increased, due to criminal gangs targeting Christian and indigenous communities persecuting believers in rural Colombia.
Armed guerrilla groups and gangs still control and fight over large parts of the national territory. They see the Church as a threat to their power and stability, particularly when gang members become Christians or church leaders speak out against violence and corruption. Church leaders have been threatened, harassed and even murdered.
Gang leaders also target Christian children, trying to recruit or abduct them to undermine the Church and force them to displace. If recruited, young Christians are forced to take part in surveillance, extortion, trafficking, abuse and killings, or face life-long death threats from the gangs. Girls are at risk of a life of sexual abuse.
In many indigenous communities, there is strong opposition to sharing the Gospel. Indigenous Christians who leave their traditional beliefs can face violence or imprisonment, be denied their basic rights, and can be driven from their ancestral lands.
“For those people who are being persecuted, I would tell them not to leave their faith. If they are still here, it’s because God has a purpose for them.”
Valentina moved away from her family to live in a safe home for Christian children due to risks.
For God’s strength and power for pastors facing constant harassment by criminal groups
For Open Doors partners as they work to equip the Church and protect young people.
That new believers from criminal or indigenous backgrounds would inspire others with their courageous faith.