Christian children can’t go to school without fear of violence or abduction in Nigeria.
Innocent Christians continue to face increasing violence and bloodshed at the hands of Islamic radicals. Yet the Nigerian government has done little to defend them.
The ACLJ is taking action to help SAVE CHRISTIAN LIVES before it’s too late.
I just personally delivered a critical oral intervention to the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC), via video, to shine a desperately needed spotlight on “the extremely troubling violence plaguing the citizens of Nigeria – especially children.”
Radical Islamic militias are specifically targeting Nigeria’s Christian men, women, and children for violent persecution. Those that they don’t slaughter are abducted and, in many cases, forced into slavery.
As I told the members of the UNHRC:
Violence at the hands of armed militant groups who target children has become all too common. For instance, around 1 AM on February 26, 2021, armed militants raided a Government Girls Secondary School located in northwest Nigeria. The gunmen broke into the school, fired their weapons, rounded up the school girls, and then kidnapped nearly 300 girls by packing some into vehicles and forcing others on foot into a nearby forest. Just recently, the girls were released, with no indication as to whether the government paid a ransom for their release.
Less than a week before, militants attacked another school. In December 2020, armed militants kidnapped over 300 boys from a school. Similarly, the boys were later released after negotiations. These attacks are still indicative of the escalating violence against children occurring in Nigeria.
While we are thankful that, in these instances, the abducted teens were released, not all of the victims of violent Islamic extremists in Nigeria have been so fortunate. In my address to the UNHRC, I reminded them of Christian teen Leah Sharibu, who as of last month has now spent three years in the clutches of the Islamic militia Boko Haram, the Nigerian arm of ISIS.
As we’ve told you, Leah was one of 110 Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in February of 2018. Five of those innocent girls did not survive. 104 were ultimately set free, but Leah remains a prisoner because she refused to renounce her Christian faith and convert to Islam.
As parents, we cannot even begin to fathom the heartbreak Leah’s mother and father feel every single day. As I said in my presentation:
Immediate action must be taken to secure the release of all children who are being held in captivity and to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.
We’ve told you how we’ve been working at the United Nations and the U.S. State Department to urge protections for Christians in Nigeria and to pressure the Nigerian government to hold violent Islamic terrorists accountable.
As we’ve told you, ACLJ Senior Counsel for Global Affairs Mike Pompeo actually placed Nigeria on a special watchlist when he was Secretary of State for what he called its government’s toleration of “systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom.” This was something we at the ACLJ had long been advocating for. But now it’s time for the rest of the world to stand with the United States and demand change in Nigeria.
And we’ve repeatedly appeared before the United Nations through our European affiliate, the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ), delivering written submissions and oral interventions urging the international community to take swift action to stop the violence, protect these Christians from slaughter, and hold the radical terrorists accountable.
This targeted extermination of Christians has to stop now. Anti-Christian violence is already spreading beyond Nigeria; Islamic radicals are now committing atrocities against helpless Christians in other regions of Africa as well. We just reported how violent Islamic militants savagely murdered over a hundred innocent people – mostly Christians – in the Democratic Republic of Congo. And we told you how in Mozambique, Christians were rounded up and beheaded and dismembered in a public soccer field.
This is why I personally spoke to the UNHRC. This deadly persecution is not going to go away on its own. Now is the time when the world must stand up and intervene.
Unless something is done right now to protect them, our Christian brothers and sisters – including innocent Christian children – in Nigeria, and soon over all of Africa, face a bleak future.
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