USCIRF: Obama speak out against persecution

October 2, 2013 by  
Filed under newsletter-world

Obama urged to speak out against persecutionNigeria, September 26, 2013: Following a meeting with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has urged President Obama to speak out against extreme sectarian violence that has led to Christians being slaughtered in churches in Nigeria.

“We respectfully urge you, Mr President, to strongly address with President Jonathan the importance of the Nigerian government arresting and prosecuting the perpetrators of sectarian violence,” USCIRF Chairman Robert P. George wrote to Obama on Monday before the meeting.

The two presidents met in New York recently, where both parties affirmed their commitment to fighting terrorism,” and ending the insurgency in northern Nigeria. Boko Haram, the Islamic organization in Nigeria, has been waging a war against Christians and the government of Jonathan for years, slaughtering thousands of Christians across communities, schools and churches in the predominantly Muslim Northern region.

Despite the horrific attacks against Christians, the White House has failed to label Boko Haram as a terrorist organization, an issue that Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) have spoken out against.

“In my first term, about 3,000 Christians were killed. Last year alone averaged over 100 every month,” said Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, president of CAN.

“Every week I get a text message- a church burnt or a pastor was murdered or Christians were randomly rounded up on a roadside and summarily executed.”

USCIRF first recommended that Nigeria be named a “country of particular concern,” back in 2009 for what it says is systematic religious freedom violations.

“We continue to make this recommendation. Our primary concern continues to be the Nigerian government’s failure, at all levels, to hold perpetrators of Muslim-Christian communal violence accountable, leading to a culture of impunity.”- Chairman George continued.

“While other causes factor into the violence in areas of conflict, religion is a significant catalyst and is often misused by politicians, religious leaders, or others for political gain. Since 1999, more than 14,000 have been killed in Muslim-Christian violence, but USCIRF has confirmed only 200 persons have been found guilty for perpetrating these attacks.”

USCIRF stressed that perpetrators needed to be brought to justice through the judicial system and not relying on counter terrorism strategy involving the security services.  Ongoing attacks also pose a threat to the country’s stability


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