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US government adds Nigeria to Special Watch list of countries that have engaged in “severe violations of religious freedom”

Persecution of Christians in Nigeria: last January, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: “We stand for religious freedom everyplace American diplomacy is at work.” The Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, thanks Secretary of State Pompeo for this new announcement following up on that statement. We hope that it will lead the State Department to heed and act upon the plight of Christians in Nigeria who are being subjected to ongoing harassment and persecution. The persecution of Christians should be a focus of governments all across the world that have commitments to human rights and religious freedom. 

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

“Nigeria Added to ‘Special Watch List’ Due to Tolerance of Religious Persecution,” International Christian Concern, December 22, 2019:

12/22/2019 Nigeria (International Christian Concern) – On Wednesday, December 18, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, announced that the US government has added Nigeria to a Special Watch list for countries that have engaged in or tolerated “severe violations of religious freedom.” Other countries that previously made up this list included Russia, Comoros, and Uzbekistan. Cuba, Nicaragua and Sudan were added to the list alongside Nigeria.

The United States Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) 2018 report recommended Nigeria’s designation as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC), noting that religious freedom trended negatively in 2018. During that year, International Christian Concern identified and documented at least 1800 deaths in the ongoing Fulani Militant Crisis in the Middle Belt of Nigeria. There were another 800 deaths at the hands of Boko Haram.

“Religious freedom conditions in Nigeria trended negatively in 2018. The Nigerian government at the national and state levels continued to tolerate violence and discrimination on the basis of religion or belief, and suppressed the freedom to manifest religion or belief,” the report states….

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