CNA Staff, Jul 8, 2020 / 06:00 am
A new report Wednesday urged the U.K. to sanction Nigerian officials accused of turning a blind eye to the persecution of Christians.
The report, published July 8 by Competere, a trade law and economic policy consultancy, highlighted the persecution of Christians in Nigeria’s Middle Belt states. It urged the U.K. government to use new powers to penalize individuals who are complicit in the violence.
Shanker Singham, CEO of Competere, told CNA: “Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has announced that the U.K. will no longer be a safe haven for those who engage in gross human rights violations. This is to be welcomed.”
“The U.K. now has the tools to deal with human rights violations such as those being perpetrated in Nigeria against Christians in the Middle Belt. It is crucial that the full force of U.K. sanctions is brought against Nigerian officials who are guilty of collusion in these heinous acts.”
On Monday, the U.K. announced its first sanctions under a new initiative seeking to punish human rights abuses around the world. The government imposed sanctions on 49 individuals and organizations connected to “notorious human rights violations.” The sanctions are the first issued by the U.K. independently, rather than through the United Nations and European Union.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said July 6: “From today, the ground-breaking global regime means the U.K. has new powers to stop those involved in serious human rights abuses and violations from entering the country, channeling money through UK banks, or profiting from our economy.”
The Competere report, “Integrating Foreign Policy, Development Policy and Human Rights Objectives: Christian Persecution in Nigeria,” chronicles recent attacks on Christians in Nigeria’s Middle Belt states of Taraba, Benue, Kaduna, Plateau, Nasarawa, and Adamawa.
It notes that Christians in the Middle Belt, many of whom are farmers, have faced attacks from three groups: Boko Haram, the Islamic State in the West African Province, and Muslim Fulani herders.