Nigeria: Religion

Department for International Development written question – answered on 29th June 2020.

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Photo of Ruth Jones Ruth Jones Labour, Newport West

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if she will introduce mandatory training for her Department’s staff in Nigeria on (a) patterns of discrimination and (b) conflict on grounds of religious characteristics and (c) how religion and religious actors interact with the societal context.

Photo of James Duddridge James Duddridge Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development)

Our staff are encouraged to develop an understanding of religion and its role within society, including in conflict situations and in countries like Nigeria where religion is important to most people's identity. Specific training on religion is available to DFID staff through the FCO’s Diplomatic Academy. DFID’s cadre of Social Development Advisers specialise in understanding religious diversity and religious freedom and provide support across the DFID Nigeria office. In addition, our Nigerian local staff provide first-hand insight into the role of religion and religious actors within Nigerian society, including conflicts affecting the country. DFID also use expertise from the FCO’s Africa Research Group and conflict-prevention experts.

We are now working on an enhanced training offer related to religion as part of our commitment to implement the recommendations made in the Bishop of Truro's independent review. This work is being led by the Prime Minister's Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief, Rehman Chishti MP.

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