The government of the United States has removed Nigeria from its list of countries that engage in severe violation of religious freedom.
US removes Nigeria from its list of religious violators
Blinken said that the US government would continue to press all governments to remedy shortcomings in their laws and practices.
This is coming almost almost two years after the US placed Nigeria on the special watch list of religious violators.
The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday, November 17, 2021, made this development known in a statement titled, ‘Religious Freedom Designations’.
In December 2019, Nigeria, Comoros, Russia, Uzbekistan, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Sudan made up the list.
But in 2021, Nigeria was missing from the list.
In his statement, Blinken said, “The United States will not waiver in its commitment to advocate for freedom of religion or belief for all and in every country. In far too many places around the world, we continue to see governments harass, arrest, threaten, jail, and kill individuals simply for seeking to live their lives in accordance with their beliefs.
"This Administration is committed to supporting every individual’s right to freedom of religion or belief, including by confronting and combating violators and abusers of this human right.
“Each year the Secretary of State has the responsibility to identify governments and non-state actors, who, because of their religious freedom violations, merit designation under the International Religious Freedom Act.
“I am designating Burma, the People’s Republic of China, Eritrea, Iran, the DPRK, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan as Countries of Particular Concern for having engaged in or tolerated “systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom.”
“I am also placing Algeria, Comoros, Cuba, and Nicaragua on a Special Watch List for governments that have engaged in or tolerated “severe violations of religious freedom.” Finally, I am designating al-Shabab, Boko Haram, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the Houthis, ISIS, ISIS-Greater Sahara, ISIS-West Africa, Jamaat Nasr al-Islam wal-Muslimin, and the Taliban as Entities of Particular Concern.
“The challenges to religious freedom in the world today are structural, systemic, and deeply entrenched. They exist in every country. They demand sustained global commitment from all who are unwilling to accept hatred, intolerance, and persecution as the status quo. They require the international community’s urgent attention."
Blinken said that the US government would continue to press all governments to remedy shortcomings in their laws and practices, and to promote accountability for those responsible for abuses.
He added that the United States remains committed to working with governments, civil society organizations, and members of religious communities to advance religious freedom around the world
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