The United States has removed Nigeria from its list of religious violators.
This was contained in a communique, Wednesday by the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken; it also blocked Russia, China, and eight other countries.
The US-listed the nations as “Countries of Particular Concern for having engaged in or tolerated ‘systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom.”
The statement was titled, ‘Religious Freedom Designations’, revealing that Algeria, Comoros, Cuba, and Nicaragua have all been placed on a Special Watch List for governments engaged in or tolerated “severe violations of religious freedom.”
Similarly, the US also specified 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.
Blinken noted that “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 following 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”.
He added that “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.
“We will continue to press all governments to remedy shortcomings in their laws and practices and to promote accountability for those responsible for abuses.
“The United States remains committed to working with governments, civil society organizations, and members of religious communities to advance religious freedom around the world and address the plight of individuals and communities facing abuse, harassment, and discrimination on account of what they believe, or what they do not believe”.
In 2020, the US had placed Nigeria, including six other countries, on its special watch list over what it described as engaging in or tolerating the severe violation of religious freedom.
The most severe category of designation called the “Countries of Particular Concern (CPC)” list, includes countries that have engaged in or tolerated “systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom.”