Denver Newsroom, 23 November, 2021 / 8:30 pm (ACI Africa).
An international legal group has joined the outcry over the U.S. State Department’s decision to remove Nigeria from this year’s watchlist of countries with the most egregious violations of religious freedom.
“Persecution against Christians and other religious minorities around the world must end,” wrote Sean Nelson, legal counsel for global religious freedom for Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) International, in a Nov. 22 statement. “For too long, governments and non-state actors have abused people of faith, including in countries like Nigeria, India, Afghanistan, and Vietnam.”
“The United States has been a leader on International Religious Freedom for decades, and we are deeply concerned that the State Department found no need to designate these countries as Countries of Particular Concern or to add them to the Special Watch List.”
The State Department released its annual designations Nov. 15. Nigeria was included in a list of “Countries of Particular Concern” (CPC) in 2020, but the country was not included in the 2021 list.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) had been recommending the designation of Nigeria as a CPC since 2009. ADF International and dozens of other human rights organizations joined USCIRF in calling for the State Department to re-designate Nigeria as a CPC again this year.