Religious Liberty Organizations Call Attention to Nigerian Crisis

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March 31, 2010 

(LARNACA, Cyprus, March 2010)  Key organizations that work on religious liberty issues around the world made strong statements on the killings and violence in Nigeria and launched a global campaign calling for prayer for that nation.   In what is being called “The Cyprus Statement,” the Religious Liberty Partnership (RLP), with member organizations based in 18 countries, is calling the worldwide Christian community to pray for the crisis in Nigeria.   

The Cyprus Statement acknowledges some positive elements within Nigeria, including the role that the church is playing, but expresses deep concern about the ways in which the situation is being handled by the government.  In addition, the Statement calls on the worldwide church to pray for work toward the religious rights of all Nigerians, to provide practical humanitarian support, and to support reconciliation efforts.   

“Following the recent appalling massacres of Christian men, women and children in villages around Jos, Nigeria it was timely that this years RLP Conference in Cyprus had a focus on Nigeria,” stated Mervyn Thomas, CEO of Christian Solidarity Worldwide, UK and Chairman of the Religious Liberty Partnership.  “The Cyprus Statement calls amongst other things for the perpetrators of violence to be brought to justice. If these people continue to kill with impunity, the violence will escalate even further, and will eventually endanger the entire nation."

The World Evangelical Alliance is deeply concerned about the violence and suffering in Nigeria.  We are calling upon all our members to proactively respond to these injustices  and use “Cyprus Statement” as a framework for responding to this tragic situation.  Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe, Chief Executive. WEA.

“Together as the RLP, we stand in support of Christians in Nigeria, calling upon the Church worldwide to pray for a restoration of lasting peace in Nigeria,” said Andy Dipper, CEO of Release International.  “Christians in central and northern Nigeria today face unprecedented persecution, with women and children suffering barbaric acts of violence.  In this context the Nigerian Church leadership are actively choosing to isolate those perpetrators of these recent killings by not retaliating, and relying on God to sustain them in their grief.”

The Religious Liberty Partnership (RLP) is a collaborative effort of Christian organizations around the world focused on religious liberty.  The RLP seeks to more intentionally work together in addressing advocacy and in raising the awareness of religious liberty issues globally.  Besides Mervyn Thomas and Andy Dipper, the RLP Leadership Team is made of: Johan Companjen, Open Doors International; Linus Pfister, HMK Switzerland; Daniel Hoffman of Middle East Concern; and Godfrey Yogarajah of the World Evangelical Alliance.  A listing of RLP members is on the Cyprus Statement.

For more information about the Religious Liberty Partnership or the Cyprus Statement, please contact Brian O'Connell:
E-mail:  [email protected]
Phone: +1-425-218-4718