Red Wednesday shines light on Christian persecution and violations against religious freedom

02 Dec 2021

By The Record

St Mary’s Cathedral was lit red in support of Red Wednesday on 24 November. Photo: Ron Tan.

St Mary’s Cathedral was last week lit up red in support of Red Wednesday, in unison with hundreds of cathedrals, churches, monuments and public buildings around the world

Celebrated on 24 November as part of an international campaign, Red Wednesday aims to raise awareness of the persecution of Christians and the need for religious freedom.

The international Catholic charity, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) launched the campaign in 2015, and it has now spread to many countries all over the world.

According to this year’s Religious Freedom in the World Report, two-thirds of the world’s population live in countries where there are serious violations of religious freedom. The numbers are increasing, for example, 42 per cent of all African countries experience religious persecution: Burkina Faso and Mozambique are just two striking cases.

This year, the Red Wednesday campaign put the spotlight on how girls and women from Christian and other faith minority backgrounds suffer abduction, forced marriage, forced conversion and sexual violence.

Persecuted people are often unable to speak for themselves, and this year a report drawn up by the charity’s UK office, entitled ‘Hear Her Cries – The kidnapping, forced conversion and sexual victimisation of Christian women and girls’ aimed to give a voice to young women subjected to sexual violence and forced conversion.

The report was presented in the UK Parliament at Westminster on Red Wednesday 24th November, with the Foreign and Commonwealth government building lit red.

Thomas Heine-Geldern, Executive President of ACN, says that the campaign is sending a clear message of solidarity to persecuted Christians throughout the world.

“It is a way to give a voice to our project partners – those who have been tragically marked by the consequences of persecution,” Mr Heine-Geldern said.

“For us,” he continued, “the free exercise of religion is one of the pillars of liberal democracy. Every form of discrimination based upon religious affiliation must be decisively rejected.”