Since 2014, the International Institute for Religious Freedom (IIRF) has systematically reviewed the annual issue of the World Watch List of Open Doors International. The audits are conducted by a team of scholars with active expertise on religious freedom in the countries and regions they audited. In each audit, these scholars take a thorough look at the process of data gathering, evaluation and scoring of the World Watch List.
The most recent audit statement (available in English and German), published on 17 January 2024, confirms that the World Watch List 2024 attests to the continued adherence to quality standards by the World Watch Research team, upholding the precedent set in previous years.
The audit is conducted in two parts. First, examining the correct application of the WWL methodology, which has been evaluated by the experts as compiled and reliable, highlighting the clarity regarding the engines of persecution used for analyzing different scenarios, as well as the consistency of the scores with past practices, but also adjusted based on contemporary changes identified by the sources, which is considered as crucial in our nowadays changing context.
The second part of the audit consists of assessing whether the scores and write-ups accurately portray the country’s situations based on auditor knowledge and experience. The overall conclusion is that WWL 2024 offers a precise, well-balanced, and detailed overview of the discrimination and persecution of Christians worldwide.
The full audit statement for 2024 can be downloaded below.
The World Watch List includes a ranking of the top 50 countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian. It is one of the most quoted instruments for measuring discrimination against Christians. Detailed information about the 2024 issue of the World Watch List, its methodology and its underlying research can be found on www.opendoorsanalytical.org/world-watch-list-documentation/ (password = freedom).
A detailed audit report has been submitted to World Watch Research with recommendations for potential future improvements and will be discussed with the members of the research team.
The following is the full audit statement for 2024
The 2024 edition of the World Watch List (WWL), audited by the International Institute for Religious Freedom (IIRF), attests to the continued adherence to quality standards by the World Watch Research team, upholding the precedent set in previous years.
Conducted in two parts, the audit first examined the correct application of the WWL methodology. The findings revealed that the WWL 2024 complies with all methodological requirements, drawing from diverse sources and appropriately substantiating conclusions. The clarity regarding the engines of persecution used for analyzing different scenarios was crucial to the analysis of sources used and the scoring of the WWL questionnaire. The scoring also provided a valid and accurate reflection of the reality on the ground. The IIRF team of auditors observes that scores are consistent with past practices in the countries evaluated but are also adjusted based on contemporary changes identified by the sources.
The second part of the audit assessed whether the scores and write-ups accurately portrayed the country situations based on auditor knowledge and experience. The overall conclusion is that WWL 2024 offers a precise, well-balanced, and detailed overview of discrimination and persecution of Christians worldwide. Among the contributions of the auditors, it is noteworthy that they recognized the reliability and accuracy of the information. The facts detailed in the reports align with their knowledge of the country, underlining the credibility and thoroughness of the scores.
The IIRF audit team comprised six esteemed academics with diverse backgrounds and nationalities, each possessing active expertise in religious freedom in their audited countries or regions.
Carefully selecting six countries from the WWL Top 50, none of which had undergone previous audits, ensured a comprehensive evaluation. The audit encompassed the work of all World Watch Research persecution analysts.
Audit materials included final questionnaires (including underlying questionnaires by external experts, field researchers and field contributors individually or through focus groups), accompanying country dossiers, and additional information provided by World Watch Research. Any other statements, documents, or interpretations from Open Doors International or its affiliates related to the WWL 2024 publication were outside the audit’s scope.
A comprehensive audit report, with recommendations for potential improvements, has been submitted to World Watch Research and will be discussed with the persecution analysts.
Dr. Dennis P. Petri
International Director of the IIRF