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In Response To Dramatically Increased Persecution of Christians, US Adds Nigeria to List of Violators of Religious Freedom

Christian persecution in Nigeria: this is an extremely positive development, for which we are grateful. As we have noted here at many times, there has been no significant response from Nigerian authorities or the international human rights community to the ongoing persecution of Christians in Nigeria. It is by now abundantly clear that despite occasional promises to act, Nigerian authorities have little or no interest in securing law-abiding, defenseless Christians against these unrelenting massacres, ethnic cleansing, and hostage-cleansing, and just as clear that the UN and other organizations have little to no interest in the plight of Nigerian Christians. Perhaps this designation will become a step toward securing real help for Nigeria’s Christians.

For previous coverage of the persecution of Christians in Nigeria from, see here.

“In Response To Dramatically Increased Persecution of Christians, United States Adds Nigeria to List of Violators of Religious Freedom,” by Paul Archuleta, American Center for Law and Justice, December 16, 2020:

We have long been advocating for the protection of Nigerian Christians who have been facing extreme persecution and violence at the hands of Boko Haram and the Fulani herdsmen. Now, the United States has officially designated Nigeria as a “Country of Particular Concern” (CPC) for its violations of religious freedom.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently announced the designation of Nigeria as a “Country of Particular Concern” under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998. The purpose of this act is, among other things, “to strengthen United States advocacy on behalf of, individuals persecuted in foreign countries on account of religion; . . . .”  Nigeria now joins Burma, China, Eritrea, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan as countries that are “engaging in or tolerating ‘systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom.’”

We have told you numerous horrific stories of persecution that Christians in Nigeria face on a daily basis. It was reported that more than 1,200 Nigerian Christians were killed at the hands of Boko Haram in the first half of 2020 alone.  We have delivered numerous written submissions and oral interventions to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) calling for immediate action to be taken to put an end to the senseless violence being carried out against Nigerian Christians. In our most recent report to the UNHRC, we stated:

Clearly, horrific acts of aggression are violating the peaceful lives of Christians in Nigeria. In order to prevent further loss of life, to end increasingly religiously motivated violence, and to address this massive humanitarian crisis, we must act now. Again, the U.N. Charter calls for the removal of threats to peace, and the Genocide Convention calls on the U.N. to prevent acts of genocide, not merely to respond to them. It is of utmost importance that meaningful action be taken immediately to put an end to the daily violence that Christians in Nigeria are facing. Repeatedly they cry out to their government and the international community for help, but no one responds….

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