Nigeria: Christianity

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 16th March 2020.

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Photo of Baroness Cox Baroness Cox Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of The Bishop of Truro's Independent Review for the Foreign Secretary of Foreign and Commonwealth Office Support for Persecuted Christians, published on 16 July 2019, which found that "religion plays a key part" in targeted violence by Fulani militia against Christian communities in Nigeria; whether they intend to publish a response to that report; and if so, when.

Photo of Baroness Sugg Baroness Sugg The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

The UK Government has accepted the recommendations of the Bishop of Truro's report and is working on implementing them. On Nigeria, the report considered intercommunal violence in the Middle Belt and terrorism in the North East. Given religion forms a fundamental part of the identity of most Nigerians, our assessment is that religion inevitably plays a part in incidences of violence affecting all faith communities, including some which involve Fulani herdsmen. As the report highlights, other factors also play a role. As part of HMG's response to issues flagged by the report, the FCO and Wilton Park co-hosted a conference on 'Fostering Social Cohesion in Nigeria' in February, exploring the complex causes of conflict and solutions to help ease tensions and reduce violence. Discussion also highlighted the importance of countering inaccurate narratives misrepresenting disparate incidents across multiple states as a homogenous religious conflict, and of inflammatory terminology as 'militia' to describe diverse ethnic groups. A full report from the event will issue this month.

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