“The Religious Freedom in the World Report is a means of raising our voices for those who no longer have the freedom to speak for themselves and who are being persecuted for their faith all over the world,” explained the executive president of the pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), Dr Thomas Heine-Geldern, when asked about the upcoming publication of the Religious Freedom in the World Report (RFR).
ACN will present the report in Rome on 20 April. Its findings will also be made public in numerous other cities worldwide “to reach a broad audience with an interest in human rights,” Dr Heine-Geldern continued.
ACN began preparing these reports in 1999 and this is the 15th edition of the Religious Freedom in the World Report. The pastoral charity is the only international Catholic institution that regularly examines and analyses the status of religious freedom in 196 countries around the world.
For ACN, the RFR is a means of supporting the Universal Church and fulfilling Pope Francis’s wish “to give a fresh impetus to the defence of religious freedom and human dignity,” explained Dr Heine-Geldern. According to the executive president, this fulfils one of the fundamental objectives of the aid organisation’s mission to be a source of information, prayer and active charity.
The country reports are prepared by independent international experts and cover all religions and religious persuasions. As Dr Heine-Geldern explained, this makes it possible for ACN “to start a conversation with many of our fellow citizens, to raise their interest and at the same time to hone their awareness for the issue of religious freedom.”