HomeUSBiden administration criticized for omitting Nigeria from religious persecution watchlist

Biden administration criticized for omitting Nigeria from religious persecution watchlist

The report recognizes the uptick in attacks, killings, and kidnappings, and prosecutions have resulted in what it calls “a climate of fear and displacement” among the Christian population. Yet it also says that “because issues of religion, ethnicity, land, and resource competition, and criminality are often closely linked, it was difficult to categorize many incidents as being solely, or even primarily, based on religious identity.”

Nigeria left off list with world’s worst abusers

Shea said that because more Christians are killed in Nigeria than in any other country in the world, there is no excuse for it not being on the CPC list, which she explained is an effective “short list of the world’s worst abusers.”

Countries currently on the list include China, North Korea, Russia, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia.

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Shea explained that the CPC list helps to effectuate change by exerting U.S. economic and diplomatic pressure. In many instances CPC designation can come with special economic sanctions, something she said would be especially effective in Nigeria’s case since the U.S. sends the country over $1 billion in annual aid.

“The United States gives a billion dollars in foreign aid to Nigeria every year, and it needs to ensure that that aid is well spent so that it’s not contributing to this, and that the government of Nigeria is actually protecting all its citizens,” she said.

Meanwhile, Sean Nelson, an attorney with the advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom International, told CNA that the State Department’s report demonstrates an incoherence and inconsistency within the administration’s policy toward Nigeria.

“The exclusion of Nigeria from the CPC list despite the clear evidence provided by the State Department’s own reporting reveals a deeply troubling inconsistency in the Biden administration’s approach to the fundamental right of religious freedom that undermines the U.S.’s credibility,” Nelson said.

“A consistent approach,” he went on, “maintains the seriousness with which our nation has always viewed the violation of this fundamental right, while an inconsistent approach relegates the right to religious freedom to second-class status.”

“The first step to addressing these grave issues, even with our friends, is acknowledging them, and words without actions only have a small impact,” he said. “The State Department should follow the evidence to its logical conclusion and use the tools that Congress has given it to make sure that the promotion of international religious freedom remains a U.S. foreign policy priority.”

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