One of the most important events in my parliamentary calendar takes place later this month. Wednesday 16th January marks the launch of this year’s Open Doors World Watch List.
The World Watch List is a detailed record of the 50 countries where it is most difficult to live as a Christian. Overall, the level of persecution has risen for the fifth year in a row, and being open about what you believe in can lead to beatings, imprisonment, discrimination and abuse. Last year’s list named North Korea the most dangerous country to worship openly.
I am grateful to the Crawley residents who have contacted me in support of Open Doors’ work, not just at this time but all year round. Ahead of the publication of the 2018 report I was pleased to speak in the House of Commons in support of the charity’s efforts standing up for persecuted Christians around the world.
A few years ago I visited Iraqi refugees, listening to individuals affected as a result of the Syrian and Iraqi civil wars. In addition to a greater insight into the horrors of Daesh/ISIS, the visit also highlighted how we must cherish the freedoms we hold dear.
As we approach the twelfth day of Christmas, it is important to reflect on those who have not been able to celebrate the festive season, and who do not have decorations to take down. These are representations I will continue to make with the Prime Minister.
Henry Smith MP