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7/10/2024 United States (International Christian Concern) — International Christian Concern (ICC) released a report on Wednesday outlining the concerning religious freedom conditions for Christians in Nigeria. 

For almost two decades, the right to religious freedom has rapidly deteriorated in the West African country. Since the rise of Islamic terrorist groups in 2009, Nigeria’s Christian community has faced extremist violence at an alarming rate. From then until today, more than 50,000 Christians have been slaughtered by violent insurgency groups — and the silence from Western nations on this genocide is appalling. 

Under the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA), it is U.S. policy to advance the fundamental right of religious freedom and hold accountable those nations that perpetrate religious freedom violations. Despite this, apart from 2020, the U.S. State Department has failed to place Nigeria on its Country of Particular Concern (CPC) designation list for engaging in and tolerating severe violations of religious freedom. This significant oversight not only undermines the efficacy of U.S. foreign policy regarding international religious freedom but also neglects to hold the Nigerian government accountable for its complicity in the violence against Christians. 

ICC’s report thoroughly examines Nigeria’s glaring lack of religious freedom and makes the case for its CPC status. The clear documentation and evidence laid out in the report demonstrate how Nigeria meets the legal threshold for CPC status under IRFA. The report cites open-source research and on-the-ground information collected from ICC field staff. Additionally, it relies on first-hand testimony from a trip our advocacy staff took to Nigeria in March 2024. At the end of the report, ICC makes several policy recommendations to Congress and the U.S. State Department on ways to address the persecution of Christians in Nigeria effectively. 

“Every human being has the natural right to practice their faith freely,” said McKenna Wendt, Advocacy Manager for ICC. “For Christians in Nigeria, this right is threatened daily by unchecked terrorist violence and complicit government officials. The United States has long been a global leader in promoting religious freedom and now is not the time to waiver in our commitment. We urge the State Department to immediately designate Nigeria as a CPC.” 

We can no longer ignore the outcry of Nigerian Christians. It is time for the United States to answer their call for help. 

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