Catholic foundation releases report on persecution of believers

Solidarity action in front of the Red Church on Independence Square. Minsk, Belarus. September 1, 2020. Photo: TK/Belsat

On April 20, the Catholic foundation ‘Help the Church in Need’ published a report on violations of religious freedom in the world.

The document, now in its 15th year, covers the period from 2018 to 2020. According to it, 67% of the world’s population (about 5.2 billion) live in 62 countries with violations of religious freedom. Christians suffer most from persecution in the world.

Belarus is among these countries. The organization has concluded that almost all denominations suffer from the actions of the authorities in Belarus. Many instances of religious freedom restrictions apply to all Christian denominations and Jews.

The report says that ‘Belarus has witnessed several months of political upheaval and public demonstrations in which most human rights are endangered, including religious freedom.”

“The trend is towards ever-increasing authoritarian control with the risk of severe consequences for the country’s religious organizations.44 The rule of law regarding religious freedom is applied unevenly and remains dependent on the whim of the authorities in charge, which often results in often chaotic and arbitrary actions against various religious communities, including the Orthodox,” the authors of the document note.

In Belarus, for a while, there were concerns about Kurapaty, the ban on the return of Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, the expulsion of foreign priests, restrictions on the construction of religious education institutions, and the registration of new communities.

Since December 2011, the ‘Help for the Church in Need’ Foundation has had the status of a papal charitable foundation. The organization’s official center is in the Vatican, and its headquarters is in Germany.