|Last year’s rank||36|
|Population||115 403 000|
|Christians||69 234 000 (60.0%)|
In Ethiopia, it’s not just converts to Christianity from Islam who can face harsh mistreatment from their families and communities, it’s also those who join Protestant groups from the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (EOC).
In some places, Islamic extremist groups have attacked churches. Meanwhile, political violence in the country – focused largely around the conflict in Tigray – has also taken its toll on Christian communities, with many Christians killed and churches destroyed. The country has also been gravely affected by drought and plagues. All of these issues create uncertainty, making Christians a soft target.
Pressure can also come from the government. In areas where Muslims or Ethiopian Orthodox Christians are in the majority, local officials may oppose the growth of Protestant Christianity and refuse to grant permits for meetings and worship.
What changed this year? Broadly speaking, pressure on Christians in Ethiopia has intensified, despite the country dropping two places on the World Watch List. While there has been a drop in recorded incidents of violence, this must be understood in the context of ongoing conflicts – such as the fighting in Tigray – where it’s difficult to differentiate between faith and ethnic/political related attacks.
“From now on, I will bow down to the Messiah, the One who has saved me.”
Roda, who became a Christian after attending Bible studies. She boldly declared her new faith by wearing a necklace that had a cross on it. Once noticed, the persecution began, but Roda continues to bravely stand firm in her faith.
What does Open Doors do to help Christians in Ethiopia?
Open Doors works through local partners to strengthen Christians in Ethiopia with leadership and persecution survival training, economic empowerment projects, livelihood skills training, and women’s and youth ministry.