Idag, 21:e juni, arrangerade jag ett seminarium under rubriken “Nigeria: Exploring the Way Forward”, tillsammans med Christian Solidarity Worldwide and African Diaspora for Freedom of Religion.
Situationen för den kristna minoriteten i landet är mycket allvarlig. Kristna fördrivs och mördas av terrororganisationer som Boko Haram. Utvecklingen känns igen från Syrien och Irak, men är betydligt mindre omskriven. Även här måste världssamfundet nu agera.
Huvudsyftet med seminariet var att sprida en medvetenhet bland kollegor i Europaparlamentet och samla stöd för ett utökat Europeiskt engagemang i regionen.
Läs gärna mitt inledningsanförande nedan:
Speech by MEP Lars Adaktusson, Brussels, June 21, 2017 “Nigeria: Exploring the Way Forward”
Welcome to the European Parliament and to this important event, about the alarming situation in Nigeria.
We will during this seminar get a chance to listen to several distinguished speakers – and have an exchange of views on how to bring positive change to a country, desperately in need for stability and peace.
Since I am a member of the foreign relations committee, and preoccupied with issues related to religious freedom, I´ve tried to visit Nigeria myself.
Unfortunately, it has not been possible so far – responsible government authorities have not granted me a visa.
Not at least of that particular reason, I highly appreciate today´s seminar and the opportunity to learn more about the worrying situation.
Thanks to Christian Solidarity Worldwide and African Diaspora for Freedom of Religion – we are all able to meet here in Brussels, and show our support for the victims of the ongoing persecution.
As we all know, Christians today are the most persecuted religious group in the world.
ISIS is one of the most militant terrorist groups, with a clearly stated ambition to eliminate Christianity from the Middle East.
However, ISIS is not alone in its aim to spread terror and death among Christian believers.
In Nigeria, there are groups with the same ruthlessness, the same ideology, the same senseless agenda and the same ultimate goal to eradicate Christian minorities.
What we see has been described as the biggest threat to Nigeria since the civil war.
Boko Haram, a militant partner organization to ISIS, has since its formation tried to overthrow Nigeria’s secular government, and impose Sharia law.
Furthermore Boko Haram has tried to expel Christians from the north of the country, forcing them to convert to Islam, or die.
Civilians have been executed, young students have been forced to learn extreme interpretations of Islam – churches and non-Muslim villages have been destroyed.
Since 2011, Boko Haram is responsible for over 28 000 deaths, mainly Christians.
Its evil acts has driven 1.8 million people from their homes – forced them to live as IDPs or refugees.
During the last years, violence between Muslim herdsmen and Christian farmers have also increased.
Fulani Milita, the name of the most cruel Muslim herdsmen, is responsible for the deaths of more than 800 men, women and children – 10 000 people that have been forced to leave their homes.
So far the Nigerian federal government has failed to protect its religious minorities, and prosecute those responsible for the crimes.
According to the US State Department the atrocities committed by Boko Haram should be considered “a beginning state of genocide”.
This, my friends, should be a wakeup call for all of us.
A call for solidarity and action
The way forward in Nigeria has been the topic for many discussions, different kind of actions has been proposed.
Still the progress is slow – if any.
Today it is obvious that the government of Nigeria must improve the general situation and the security for all the religious minorities, in different parts of the country.
The rights of all citizens of Nigeria must be upheld with accurate law enforcement, including both the police and military forces.
In addition, arrested Boko Haram fighters need to be put on trial and convicted, which is not the case today.
The government needs to do everything in its power to solve this issue.
At the same time we, as the European Union, have a responsibility to provide support and assistance, politically as well as humanitarian.
With these short introductory remarks, it is a privilege for me to pass the word to our experts and panellists.
Again, thank you everyone for coming – thank you Christian Solidarity Worldwide and African Diaspora for Freedom of Religion, for hosting this seminar.