01/18/2024 United States (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) sent a letter to the U.S. Congress yesterday, calling for a congressional hearing into the U.S. Department of State’s recent exclusion of Nigeria and India from its Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) list.
The letter, signed by 40+ international religious freedom experts, calls for accountability and transparency in U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s decision to omit the countries from the list. Signers of the letter include former members of Congress Frank Wolf (R-VA) and Dan Burton (R-IN), International Religious Freedom Secretariat President Nadine Maenza, Family Research Council’s Lela Gilbert, and Nina Shea from the Hudson Institute.
ICC notes in the letter that alarming instances of religious persecution have rocked Nigeria and India. In Nigeria, more than 50,000 Christians have been killed, and 18,000 churches and 2,500 Christian schools have been attacked since 2009. In India, the religious freedom situation has similarly deteriorated. Between 200-400 churches and 3,500 Christian homes in one state have been attacked since May of 2023.
Under the International Religious Freedom Act, both countries meet the statutory definition of “engaging in or tolerating particularly severe violations of religious freedom” to be designated as CPCs. They should be named as such, and the State Department must be held accountable for their failure to do so.
McKenna Wendt, ICC’s Advocacy Manager said, “We are disappointed to see the State Department overlook the violence against Christians in Nigeria and India. The U.S. has an opportunity to help end the mass genocide of Christians in Nigeria and pressure India to eradicate its blasphemy laws – and that starts with holding countries accountable for their poor religious freedom conditions. The U.S. still has a chance to be a global leader in advancing religious freedom in Nigeria and India, and we hope that a congressional hearing would send a message that we are serious about doing so.”
Among those concerned is the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), which has recommended CPC status for Nigeria since 2009 and India since 2020. USCIRF announced that it was “extremely disappointed” with the State Department’s omission of Nigeria and India from the CPC list. It also called for a congressional hearing to investigate the agency’s rationale for not fully implementing USCIRF’s policy recommendations.
The Daily Signal covered the letter exclusively and noted that the State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Click here: Letter in Support of USCIRF’s Call for Congressional Hearing Final (2) to read the full letter sent by ICC to the House Foreign Affairs and Senate Foreign Relations Committees.
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