Many times we have informed you about the devastating humanitarian crisis and an increasingly genocidal situation for Christians in Nigeria because of extremist Islamic groups like Boko Haram and the Fulani herdsmen. This week, we again filed a critical submission to the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC) through our European affiliate, the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ), detailing some of the more recent atrocities against Christians.
In our written submission, we reminded them:
[U]nder the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (‘Genocide Convention’), “[a]ny Contracting Party may call upon the competent organs of the United Nations to take such action under the Charter of the United Nations as they consider appropriate for the prevention and suppression of acts of genocide”.
In light of the persistent and increasing violence against Christians in Nigeria, we stated:
It is increasingly clear that Nigeria cannot protect Christians within its borders from these horrific genocidal acts, and the ECLJ asks any one of the Contracting Parties to the Genocide Convention to call upon the U.N. to take the immediate action necessary to prevent further devastation and loss of life.
As we detail in our report:
According to a December 2020 NGO report, approximately 2,200 Nigerian Christians were “hacked to death in 2020 and 34,400 since 2009”. These Christians were killed by Boko Haram, Fulani herdsmen and other radical Islamic groups. The report indicated that no less than 1,300 Christians were killed by Fulani Herdsmen, and 500 killed at the hands of Boko Haram and its splinter groups.
These groups target Christians and churches, and in some cases even carry out their attacks during important Christian holidays.
In December 2020, “Islamic extremist terrorists who kidnapped 11 Christians in northeast Nigeria on Christmas Day [later] executed five of them, according to a video released . . .”. The original attack occurred in the early morning hours on 25 December, resulting in the death of six Christians and the kidnapping of eleven other Christians. According to news reports, area residents later reported that the Christians killed in a video dated 29 December “were among the 11 kidnapped”.
Furthermore, we again reiterated our call for the immediate release of Leah Sharibu, who is still being held captive by Boko Haram:
Leah Sharibu is a Christian teen who was kidnapped by Boko Haram in February 2018 along with 110 other girls. Five of those girls are dead and 104 were set free. Leah is the only one who remains in captivity because she refuses to deny her faith in Christ. Time is of the utmost importance for addressing Leah Sharibu’s case as she remains in serious danger and immediate action must be taken to free her before it’s too late.
The U.N. must work with Nigeria to put an end to the atrocities being carried out against Christians in order to prevent further loss of life. We reminded the U.N. that it is their duty to respond in these circumstances.
Again, the U.N. Charter calls for the removal of threats to peace, and the Genocide Convention calls on the U.N. to prevent acts of genocide, not merely respond to them. It is of utmost importance that meaningful action be taken immediately to put an end to the violence that Christians in Nigeria are facing. Repeatedly they cry out to their government and the international community for help, but no one responds.
We need to respond – the world needs to respond.
We are currently working on an oral intervention to be presented at the UNHRC later this month in an effort to further advance the plight of these vulnerable Christians. We will not stop advocating on their behalf. Join us as we continue to fight for the protection of persecuted Christians in Nigeria and around the world.
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