Christians world's most persecuted faith group, Vatican official tells U.N.

Christians abandon their homes in Iraq to escape violence from Islamic State militants.Reuters

Amid reports of intensifying Christian persecution in various parts of the world, a Vatican official has come out with a statement saying Christians are "by far the most persecuted faith group."

Speaking this week at the United Nations Summit for Refugees and Migrants in New York, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin called for greater global action for people displaced by conflicts around the world.

"Since human choices provoke conflicts and wars, it is well within our power and responsibility to address this root cause that drives millions to become refugees, forced migrants and internally displaced persons," Parolin told representatives of various countries, as quoted by The Catholic News Agency.

The Roman Catholic Church official also challenged nations to address the "root causes" of this displacement, among them the persecution of Christians. He noted the increasing number of incidents of persecution among Christians across the world.

"Many reports confirm that Christians are by far the most persecuted faith group... We must not abandon them," Cardinal Parolin said, adding that addressing persecution requires "strength and political will."

He likewise urged the representatives of the countries present to rethink "entrenhed practices and habits." He particularly enjoined them to reconsider the arms trade.

"The proliferation of any type of weapons aggravates situations of conflict and results in huge human and material costs, provoking large movements of refugees and migrants and profoundly undermining development and the search for lasting peace," the Vatican official said.

He also stressed the importance of addressing poverty and hunger while caring for the environment, as well as the protection of the family, which he said is "an essential element in human and social development."

To accomplish all these, the cardinal said nations should engage in meaningful diplomacy and dialogue.