Biden Betrays Nigerian Christians by Rejecting their Pleas for Help against Systematic Genocide in Nigeria

BREAKING: WASHINGTON D.C.– Nigerian Christians air grievances against the Biden Administration for a grave betrayal following the Biden State Department’s decision to ignore Nigeria’s pleas to be designated as a “Country of Particular Concern” (CPC).

The State Department rejected calls from countless religious freedom, Christian and human rights organizations that were seeking this designation. The CPC list is an essential U.S. government tool to promote global religious freedom.

According to the State Department’s website, under the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) of 1998, “the President is required to annually review the status of religious freedom in every country in the world and designate each country the government of which has engaged in or tolerated ‘particularly severe violations of religious freedom’ as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC).”

“The law defines particularly severe violations as ‘systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom,’ including violations such as: (1) torture; (2) prolonged detention without charges; (3) forced disappearance; or (4) other flagrant denial of life, liberty, or security of persons.”

The designation is paramount to aggrieved populations in countries that violate religious freedom because it grants the U.S. government the ability to leverage sanctions against offending countries.

Despite numerous calls from leading human and religious freedom organizations, Secretary of State Antony Blinken decided not to add Nigeria’s name to the CPC “blacklist,” earning criticism from the U.S. Commission on Religious Freedom (USCIRF). 

USCIRF’s leaders are Congress-appointed to make recommendations to the State Department. The commission has repeatedly asked for Nigeria to be added to the list.

“USCIRF rejects the State Department’s decision to omit Nigeria and India as CPCs. We met with the State Department on many occasions to sound the alarm about these countries but not all of our recommendations have been followed,” said USCIRF Chair Abraham Cooper and Vice Chair Frederick Davie in a statement. 

“We will not be deterred and will continue our role as a congressionally mandated watchdog to ensure the U.S. government prioritizes religious freedom as a key component of U.S. foreign policy.”

The most recent CPC list, which was designated by Blinken on Dec. 29, 2024, include Burma, People’s Republic of China, Cuba, Eritrea, Iran, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.

The most recent Special Watch List Countries, which was designated by Blinken on the same date, include Algeria, Azerbaijan, the Central African Republic, Comoros, and Vietnam.

Critics point out that the State Department regularly includes the above countries, which are known enemies of the U.S., because there is no risk in calling them out. 

Yet the Biden administration refuses to add Nigeria (and India, and a few other countries) to the CPC list for geopolitical and monetary reasons, which politicizes the blacklist and reveals the U.S. government’s unwillingness to fully support religious freedom around the world, which is a principle this nation was founded upon.

“If Nigeria doesn’t belong on the CPC, then I’m not sure who does,” said David Curry, President and CEO of Global Christian Relief. Curry serves on the USCIRF and provides insight and suggestions for the blacklist.

“In 2022 alone, more than 5,000 Nigerian Christians were massacred in multiple waves of attacks, and another 1,041 were slaughtered in the first 100 days of 2023. This past Christmas, attacks on 26 Nigerian villages left nearly 200 dead with many more missing. Unbelievably, the State Department’s decision to leave Nigeria off the CPC list was made just days after these horrific attacks took place.” 

“I recently traveled to Nigeria and met with Christians who have lost everything at the hands of Boko Haram, Fulani extremists, and other terrorists. Their family members have been killed, their homes and villages destroyed, their farms burned, and livestock stolen. The trauma and pain these survivors face are incredibly deep and painful. And yet, month after month, year after year, we allow these violent acts to continue,” Curry attested in an article he contributed to Christian Post

Curry suggested that even when an offending nation is added to the list, the U.S. does not fully leverage the political and economic tools at its dispense to pressure the nation to end religious persecution. At its best, the CPC is a shaming tool, he said.

Religious freedom is a paramount principle on which the U.S. was founded. The State Department, under the Biden Administration, annually engages in dangerous negligence as a symptom of an overarching national infection: our very founding philosophies are caving under our feet.

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