Archbishop Silvano Tomasi

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi

March 19, 2012

Terrorist attacks on Christians in Africa, the Middle East and Asia tripled in a seven-year period, a Vatican official told a UN meeting.

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Holy See's permanent observer to UN offices in Geneva, told the UN Human Rights Council that while Christians are not the only victims, attacks on them in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia "increased 309 per cent between 2003 and 2010."

He did not offer specific numbers.

"Approximately 70 per cent of the world's population lives in countries with high restrictions on religious beliefs and practices, and religious minorities pay the highest price.

In general, rising restrictions on religion affect more than 2.2 billion people," Tomasi told the council March 1.

Religious freedom is an inalienable right, which can foster a healthy cooperation and spirit of shared responsibility among believers of different religions, he said.