Nigeria: Human Rights and Religious Freedom

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office written question – answered on 16th July 2021.

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Photo of Feryal Clark Feryal Clark Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent representations he has made to his Nigerian counterpart on protecting the (a) religious freedoms, (b) freedom of belief, and (c) human rights of (i) the Igbo community, (ii) Christians, (iii) all minority religious groups and (iv) people with no religion in Nigeria; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of James Duddridge James Duddridge Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

The UK is committed to promoting and protecting the right to freedom of religion or belief around the world. We condemn all violence against civilians in Nigeria, irrespective of their religion and ethnicity. In the North East, terrorist groups, including Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa, continue to cause immense suffering to both Muslim and Christian communities. These groups seek to undermine the right to freedom of religion or belief by indiscriminately attacking those of all faiths who do not subscribe to their extremist views.

We are also concerned by sharpening social divisions and intercommunal violence within Nigeria. We encourage reconciliation and constructive dialogue between the many ethnic groups, religious identities, and communities that make up and contribute to the strength and diversity of Nigeria. I [Minister Duddridge] discussed rising insecurity with the President's Chief of Staff, the Foreign Minister and the Governor of Lagos during my visit to Nigeria in April. Our High Commissioner regularly raises the importance of ensuring accountability for all human rights violations with senior interlocutors in the Nigerian government, including serious cases of discrimination on the basis of religion or belief.

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