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U.S. State Department’s Religious Freedom Report

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This week the U.S. Department of State released their 2011 International Religious Freedom Report. The report covers 199 countries and territories. Go to the report here and use the “Go to a Country Report” drop-down box to begin searching reports from specific countries. The reports tell what religions people in the country follow, what the laws of the country say about religious freedom, and whether or not there are abuses of religious freedom in that country.

See the “Countries” section on this site or the “Restricted Nations” section at Persecution.com for further information about selected countries.


Water for Refugees

South Sudan

South Sudan used to be part of Sudan. It became a country of its own in 2011.

The Voice of the Martyrs helps run a refugee camp in South Sudan for people who have lost homes due to violence in the region. More than 200,000 people, most of them Christians, live in the camp.

About 65 percent of the people in South Sudan have no way to get clean, healthy water. In the area where the refugee camp is located, many people had to walk for two days to find water.

Thanks to VOM supporters and God’s provision, new water wells are bringing clean water to the refugees, like the girl in the photo.


Peace in My Heart

Horn of Africa

Basmah, a Christian woman in Somalia, was going to have a baby. But her Muslim husband left her because she had become a Christian. She moved in with her family until she had her baby. Then when Basmah’s mother and father found out about her new faith, they would not let her live with them anymore.

Basmah and her baby lived on the street, homeless. “I was praying that God would give me a house where I could sleep,” said Basmah. “He answered my prayer.” A worker from The Voice of the Martyrs met her and offered a place to stay in a “safe house” located in one of the countries in the Horn of Africa.

Basmah is thankful for the care she is receiving at the safe house. But she knows she has received a better gift. “The best gift God gave me was Jesus,” she said. “I now have peace in my heart. Nothing else can compare to Jesus. Even when I am hungry, I have peace.”

Note: The Horn of Africa is a peninsula on the east side of Africa shaped somewhat like an animal’s horn. Countries considered part of the horn are Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Djibouti. (To help you remember the countries, the first letters of their names spell “SEED.”) Some maps of the Horn of Africa also include Sudan, South Sudan, Kenya, and other neighbor countries.