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Somalia and Ethiopia improve rank on human rights for Christians

ICC Note

According to report by Open Doors’, Christians in countries Eritrea and Libya are facing increased persecution in 2007, whereas in Ethiopia and Somalia the condition for Christians is improving.

02/11/2008 Ethiopia (Jimma Times) – According to Open Doors’ 2008 World Watch List, Somalia and Ethiopia are two of the countries that improved human rights for Christians. The annual Christian persecution list moved Somalia from 4th of the bottom up to the 12th place, an improvement mainly related to the recent establishment of a secular government. Despite the improvement, persecution of Somali Christians is still widespread in the country and wherever overt harassment is absent, Christians are often ostracized by the Somali community.

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Concerns of religious persecution exist in some southern parts of neighboring Ethiopia , particularly in the Somali speaking region of Ethiopia , where a house of a Christian family in the regional capital of Jijiga was targeted by religious fundamentalists in January. But both neighboring Kenya and Ethiopia improved in their world rankings on religious freedom, 49th and 43rd respectively, while conditions in Eritrea (11th worst) and Libya (23rd worst) reportedly declined last year.

Worsening conditions for US allies

North Korea took first place in the ranking of the most Christian persecuting nations, becoming the worst country for Christians in the world for the sixth year in a row. Human rights groups around the globe have condemned the institutionalized persecution of Christians in many of these top persecuting countries. One of the top American allies, Saudi Arabia , was ranked the second worst country for Christians, triggering more criticism on America ’s foreign policy. In addition to Eritrea and Libya , Saudi Arabia was also one of the countries listed by the UN Security Council’s 2006 report about the source of support for the Al-Qaeda linked Islamic Courts Union (ICU) fighting the Somalia government in Mogadishu . However, Saudi Arabia is the largest U.S. export market in the Middle East and the world’s leading petroleum exporter, including around 20 percent of the total American imports of crude oil. Similarly, big Oil deals followed the restoration of American relations with Libya despite the religious and political conditions inside Libya , while US-Eritrea relations severely deteriorated.

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