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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.

It is time that Nigeria be held accountable for the tolerance of Religious Freedom violations. They need to be added to the CPC list and sanctions must be placed on them. If this does not happen, they will likely continue to allow the deaths and harassment of Christians and Shia Muslims.

For interviews, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: press@persecution.org.