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Letter to the High Commissioner of Nigeria to Canada regarding continuing attacks against Christians in the northern region of Nigeria

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May 9, 2012

His Excellency Professor Ivorwuese Hagher, PhD, OON
High Commissioner for Nigeria
295 Metcalfe Street
Ottawa, Ontario   K2P 1R9 

Your Excellency,

In an interview on April 30, 2012, with Aid to the Church in Need, the Most Reverend Ignatius Kaigama, Archbishop of Jos and President of the Nigerian Conference of Catholic Bishops, expressed grave concern that the Government of Nigeria is failing to protect Christians in your country, particularly in the North. The interview, reported by Catholic News Service, indicates a great number of attacks on Christians in this region, with comparatively few arrests. According to Aid to the Church in Need, these attacks are almost daily, with Christians regularly the target. On April 29 alone, 21 people were killed and 20 others injured in coordinated attacks during Sunday worship services at a university campus in Kano and a Protestant chapel in Maiduguri.

The United Nations’ 2005 World Summit agreed that “Each individual State has the responsibility to protect its population from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. This responsibility entails the prevention of such crimes, including their incitement, through appropriate and necessary means” (Article 138). Furthermore, the Summit made a clear and unambiguous condemnation of terrorism “in all its forms and manifestations”.

Further to my earlier letter to you of November 14, 2011, as President of the Human Rights Committee of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, I wish to underline the concerns expressed by our brother Bishops in Nigeria. I therefore again request that you express to the President of Nigeria, His Excellency Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCON, GCFR, the urgent need to ensure robust and sufficient protections for the many Christians who call your country home.

Thank you for considering this request.

Sincerely,

The Most Reverend François Lapierre, P.M.É
Bishop of Saint-Hyacinthe
Chairman of the Human Rights Committee
Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops

c.c.: The Honorable John Baird, Minister of Foreign Affairs


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