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Nigeria: Blasphemy

Question for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

UIN 2644, tabled on 16 May 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to protect freedom of religion or belief in the world following the murder of a student who was beaten and burnt to death for alleged blasphemy in Nigeria.

Answered on

24 May 2022

The murder of Deborah Samuel in Sokoto State, Nigeria, on 13 May was a barbaric and heinous act. I [Minister Ford] have expressed my public condemnation, and have urged the relevant authorities to ensure the perpetrators face justice in line with the law.

The severity and scale of violations and abuses of freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) in many parts of the world remain deeply troubling. Defending FoRB for all, and promoting respect between different religious and non-religious communities, is a longstanding human rights priority for the UK Government. Bilaterally, Ministers and officials regularly raise specific cases of concern with different countries; we do not shy away from challenging those we believe are not meeting their obligations. Multilaterally, we work with the UN, G7, and other multilateral fora to promote FoRB. The UK Government regularly discusses human rights in Nigeria with the Nigerian authorities, stressing the importance of protecting and promoting human rights for all. During my visit to Nigeria in February, I met with community and religious leaders, with whom I discussed, among other things, the impact of the deteriorating security situation in Nigeria on local people, and their rights. I also discussed growing insecurity and violence with Nigeria's Vice President and Foreign Minister during my visit.