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US Congress Asks Buhari To Speak Out Against Killer Herdsmen

US Congress Asks Buhari To Speak Out Against Killer
Herdsmen
The United States Congress has challenged President
Muhammadu Buhari to speak out against herdsmen killing
people across the country. Chris Smith, the Chairman of the
US House Subcommittee on Global Human Rights, made the
call in a statement on the Release of the State Department’s
International Religious Freedom Report. While saying that the
Congress was “watching the situation in Nigeria with growing
concern,” the statement accused the Federal Government of
appearing “too often to be indifferent to attacks by Fulani
herdsmen” on farmers. The statement, which also treated the
situation in three other countries reads: Chair of the House
Subcommittee on Global Human Rights and a senior member
of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, welcomed the
release of the State Department’s annual International
Religious Freedom Report and applauded Secretary Pompeo’s
announcement of a Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom
scheduled for July 25-26, 2018. “Getting the facts right on the
global state of religious freedom is essential for the shaping of
U.S. policy and priorities, and that is why the State
Department’s annual report is so important,” said Smith,
author of the Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom
Act of 2016, which gave the State Department tools and
authority to better promote international religious freedom. “I
welcome the report’s release and urge concerted action to
protect this fundamental freedom.” “Religious freedom is
under siege globally, challenging U.S. interests. It is no
coincidence that the worst violators of religious freedom
globally are also the biggest threats to our nation—those who
wish to do Americans the most harm, and those who most
want to tear down the pillars of democratic societies,” Smith
said. “Thus, a robust religious freedom diplomacy not only
reflects American values, but advances U.S. national security
interests. It seems the Administration understands these
facts, I look forward to working with them on this critical
issue.” Congressman Smith noted the need to take more
direct action in certain countries: China: “China gets a failing
grade. It once again is designated a Country of Particular
Concern (CPC). China’s ‘war on religion’ expanded this year,
with horrifying abuses targeting the Uyghur Muslims and more
restrictions on Christians, Tibetan Buddhists, and Falun Gong
practitioners. How China treats religion will determine the
country’s future prosperity and stability, as religious adherence
grows despite repression. It is in the interest of the U.S. to
raise religious freedom concerns as only the U.S. has the
economic and political clout to avoid the type of economic
retaliation the Chinese government uses to coerce silence
about its human rights abuses.” Vietnam: “Vietnam too often
gets a free pass on human rights. There are religious prisoners
in Vietnam, harassment of independent religious groups
continues, and a new law on religion allows the Vietnamese
government more control over religious groups—how is
Vietnam not designated by the State Department as a Country
of Particular Concern? This designation worked in the past to
improve conditions for Vietnamese religious groups and it will
work again because the Vietnamese government needs U.S.
trade and security cooperation.” Iraq: “Christians and Yazidis
were targeted for genocide by ISIS starting in 2014. Today they
are at risk of being forced to leave their ancient homelands
unless the United States and others start giving them direct
aid soon. I have received reports from the ground that
promised U.S. assistance is not yet reaching them as it should.
What the Administration does now may determine whether
ISIS erases these communities or is denied a propaganda and
recruiting victory.” Anti-Semitism: “This report is filled with
examples of anti-Semitic attacks, discrimination, and rhetoric
—especially in Europe. Yet, we still await the appointment of a
Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism. My
provisions in the Global Anti-Semitism Act of 2004 created
and mandated the position of Special Envoy to lead our fight
against this persistent, unique hatred. The newly-sworn-in
Secretary Pompeo promised me at a recent hearing that he
will appoint someone soon and I look forward to an
announcement of that appointment.” Turkey: “The government
of Turkey continues to use the weight of the state to crack
down on religious freedom as part of its broader assault on
the rule of law. For more than two years the Turkish
government has held Pastor Andrew Brunson, an American
citizen, hostage. The United States must hold the perpetrators
of this injustice accountable with targeted sanctions.” Nigeria:
“Congress is watching the situation in Nigeria with growing
concern, as the Nigerian government there appears too often
to be indifferent to attacks by Fulani herdsmen on
predominantly Christian farmers. The confluence of religious,
ethnic, economic and political tensions is only likely to be
exacerbated in the lead-up to elections next year unless
President Muhammadu Buhari speaks out with a clear voice
condemning the herdsmen attacks. We grieve with the families
of those killed, including those of two priests and 17
worshippers who were buried just last week following an attack
by herdsmen in Benue state in April.”

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