Rights groups have criticized the United States for no longer listing Nigeria as a violator of religious freedom.

Jos, Nigeria — Human rights groups around the world have responded disappointedly to the US State Department’s delisting of Nigeria as a “Country of Specific Concern” (CPC).

Prior to his visit to Nigeria on 18 November, Secretary of State Antony Blinken cited China, Myanmar, Eritria, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan as countries of particular concern. The Secretary of State designates countries that are particularly concerned about serious violations of religious freedom.

Also on November 18, Blinken designated Algeria, Comoros, Cuba and Nicaragua among the countries on the US watch list for religious freedom.

However, among other killings, Islamic extremists allegedly slaughtered 38 Christians in the village of Madamai, Nigeria, on September 26, and the entire Baptist Church was kidnapped on October 31.

“The challenge to religious freedom in today’s world is structurally, systematically and deeply rooted,” Blinken said on November 17. statement About the designation of freedom of religion. “They demand a lasting global commitment to all those who do not want to accept hatred, intolerance and persecution as they are,” he said.

Defenders of Nigeria’s religious freedom did not mention Nigeria, but felt that Blinken’s statement adequately explained the situation in the country. Live their lives according to their beliefs. “

Blinken was interviewed on Channels TV in Nigeria on November 19 and mentioned the issue of police abuse of protesters in Lagos in October, but critics said Blinken was an ongoing Christian in northern Nigeria. He said he did not mention the killing.

Nigeria was first added to the CPC list by the Donald Trump administration in 2020. Its delisting violated the recommendations of the US International Religious Freedom Commission (USCIRF), which recommended relisting the country.

USCIRF Chair Nadine Maenza said in a statement on 17 November that Blinken’s failure to redesignate Nigeria was “unexplainable.” Omission of India, Syria and Vietnam.

“USCIRF is disappointed that the State Department did not adopt our recommendations in designating countries that are the worst violators of religious freedom,” Maenza said.

Franklin Ogbunweze, Senior Researcher and Director of Genocide Prevention in Africa at Christian Solidarity International (CSI), said:

Ogbunwezeh also sees this action as an authoritarian victory. “The visit to Blinken was a strategic victory for the Government of Blinken and a very tragic day for human rights in Nigeria,” Ogbunwezeh said on AriseTV on November 19.

“In northern Nigeria, the fact remains that Shariah and blasphemy laws are still used to discriminate against Christians. Christians do not have permission to build or renovate their churches — I. We know that, and state-level governments are becoming more and more authoritative. “

Violations against Christians have been confirmed by the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). Samsung Ayokunre. “We lost many people and places of worship due to their attacks, especially in the north-central and northeastern parts of the country,” he said. “The agenda for the killing of Christians has not stopped to this day, and the Nigerians are living witnesses,” Ayokunle said in a statement on November 19.

“The surrendered or captured ISWAP and other Islamic terrorists were not allowed to face the wrath of the law. These are the only ones whose agenda wipes out Christianity from Nigeria and extends from the north to the south Atlantic. Those who said that Islam is to be planted as a religion.

“The bandits joined other extremist Islamic groups, violently attacked the church, killed worshipers, and kidnapped them for ransom,” Ayokunle said.

According to Ayokunle, officials in countries that failed to compensate for the losses caused by religious militants have exacerbated Christian suffering through targeted prosecution and policies.

“For example, many northern states have not yet overturned the policy of refusing Christians to build churches in their own countries. Similarly, many northern states, if not, are not available in the curriculum. Some states do not allow Christian students to study Christian religion in public schools.

“In a similar fashion, Christian students complained that they were denied admission to a state-owned university in the north, especially to study courses such as law and medicine.” Christian students and students recently kidnapped from Bethel Baptist High School were left behind by kidnappers without an intentional rescue mission organized.

“Relatives and churches of the kidnapped people have been forced to pay millions of naira ransoms to protect their people and children! So far, the federal government has called thieves terrorism. I have refused to look at them and therefore refuse to classify them as terrorists, “he said.

“Basically, the designation of the CPC promotes accountability between the Government of Nigeria and the Government of the United States,” Kyle Abz, Executive Secretary of the International Commission for Nigeria (ICON), wrote in the Epoch Times. “The withdrawal of Nigeria can boldly violate religious freedom,” he added.

“I talked to the leaders of various Furani groups and the leaders of humanitarian organizations and Christian institutions. [I learned that] I was shocked that the US government lifted the designation of CPC. ” “They believe they do, and now cause confusion for those who are fighting for religious freedom, and in fact boldly violate and perpetrators of violence against religious freedom and human rights. “

“It is important to maintain certain concerns (EPC) about Boko Haram and ISWAP, but removing the CPC designation basically removes the government’s responsibility to protect citizens and provide human prosperity. “Abts said.

Kim Masala