Top U.S federal religious freedom advisory panel and Religious freedom advocacy groups are criticizing the Biden administration for removing Nigeria from the U.S. State Department’s list of “countries of particular concern” amid concerns that predominantly Christian farming communities continue to face increasing violence.
Persecondnews.com also gathered from Washington that Nigeria’s removal from the CPC list also drew the ire of the bipartisan congressionally mandated U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, a U.S federal entity established to advise Congress and federal agencies on global religious freedom matters
The U.S State Department released an updated list of countries of particular concern Wednesday, a designation reserved for the countries considered to be the world’s worst religious freedom violators. The list includes state actors that have engaged in or tolerated “systemic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom.” The designation carries the possibility of sanctions or other consequential actions.
Although Nigeria was added to the CPC list last December during the final months of the Trump administration, this year’s CPC list did not include Nigeria even though the religious freedom advocacy group International Christian Concern identified the African country as one of its 2021 “Persecutors of the Year” in a report published earlier this week.
“We are troubled by Nigeria’s omission as a CPC,” said ICC President Jeff King in a statement, obtained by Persecondnews.com . “The Nigerian government has done almost nothing to stop the violence against Nigerian Christians, leading to continued violent persecution.
“Nigeria is one of the deadliest places on Earth for Christians, as 50,000 to 70,000 have been killed since 2000,” the ICC Persecutor of the Year report states.
“USCIRF is disappointed that the State Department did not adopt our recommendations in designating the countries that are the worst violators of religious freedom,” USCIRF Chair Nadine Maenza said in a statement.
“While the State Department took steps on some designations, USCIRF is especially displeased with the removal of Nigeria from its CPC designation, where it was rightfully placed last year, as well as the omission of India, Syria, and Vietnam. We urge the State Department to reconsider its designations based on facts presented in its own reporting.”