USA (MNN) — The U.S. State Department has, once again, failed to designate Nigeria and India as Countries of Particular Concern (CPC), despite strong recommendations from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). CPCs are given the label for engaging in or tolerating particularly severe violations of religious freedom.

In response, USCIRF has called for a congressional hearing to express its “extreme disappointment” over the State Department’s lackluster censorship of the two countries.

Todd Nettleton with The Voice of the Martyrs USA says, “The interesting thing about this is that [USCIRF] is publicly questioning the State Department on, ‘Hey, why don’t you agree with us? Why didn’t you follow our advice?’ That is something that we haven’t seen a lot of in the past, where they’re really publicly saying, ‘Hey, you got it wrong. You need to change your mind.’”

Nearly all Christians in northeastern Nigeria have lost family members in attacks by Boko Haram or Fulani Islamic militants.
(Photo courtesy of VOM USA)

The failure to designate Nigeria as a CPC comes on the heels of recent extremist attacks over Christmas that killed hundreds of Nigerian Christians. India also continues to see an increase in persecution of Indian Christians, Muslims, and religious minorities.

“I think one of the things that we can do is educate ourselves about what is happening in places like Nigeria, in places like India,…and in other countries that are affected by these reports,” says Nettleton.

“As we educate ourselves, we can help our elected officials [see], ‘No, this is something we care about, and you need to understand what’s happening on the ground in these countries.’”

Please pray for justice.

Nettleton also asks, “Pray that even in these attacks, even in these persecution instances, there will be opportunities to be a witness for Christ.”


Header photo courtesy of Mike Stoll/Unsplash.