(ConservativeInsider.org) – In 1998, Congress passed the International Religious Freedom Act in order to create the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). This commission advises the US president on countries and groups of particular concern when it comes to threats and persecution against various religious groups.
The commission raised a red flag this week. President Joe Biden removed Nigeria from the countries of particular concern (CPC) watchlist, despite evidence showing it still allows the persecution of Christians within its borders.
Understanding the CPC Watchlist
The CPC watchlist is the highest designation the US Government can give to identify a country that’s a horrific violator of religious freedom. Currently, the following countries are on the list:
- The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
- Saudi Arabia
This was Russia’s first year on the list. However, the USCIRF also recommended the State Department include India, Nigeria, Vietnam, and Syria, which the Biden administration chose not to do.
The State Department did not provide reasoning for why it left Nigeria off the list or why it did not put it on the Special Watch-List (SWL), either. The SWL is a designation directly under the CPC that shows concern for religious freedom, but is not as severe as the CPC.
Nigeria Celebrates Its Removal Despite Protests From Religious Freedom Groups
Femi Adesina, the spokesperson for the Nigerian president, said the nation’s removal from the CPC list was because the original designation, given in December 2020, by President Donald Trump’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, was “not based on facts.” However, numerous groups have emphasized how the Nigerian government is still complicit in allowing Boko Haram to persecute Christians in the country for decades.
The latest data shows militants in the country have killed somewhere between 50,000 and 70,000 Christians since 2000, and they continue to steal land from Christian farmers around the nation. This year, the International Christian Concern group labeled Nigeria as one of the top three persecutors of Christians, alongside the Taliban and Kim Jong-un. This leaves many questions remaining about how the Nigerian government managed to get off the list.
Will This Designation Last?
For now, the Nigerian government gets to enjoy its removal from the CPC watchlist as Boko Haram militants continue to persecute tens of thousands of Christians in the nation. While there’s no public reason for the change in status, it’s likely more information will come out soon as more groups and officials question why Biden removed a government that allows intense religious persecution in its nation.
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