Letter to Secretary of State Clinton Regarding Situation in Nigeria, July 6, 2012

Year Published
  • 2012
  • English

July 6, 2012

The Honorable Hillary Clinton
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20520

Dear Secretary Clinton:

As chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), I write regarding the growing urgency of the situation in Nigeria.

Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria has issued a statement on security in their beloved country. While deploring all acts of violence, especially against innocent civilians, they single out the “recurrent attacks on Christian places of worship.” Their full statement is enclosed with this letter.

The bishops note that it is a “primary duty of government to ensure security of life and property of citizens all over the nation.” Accordingly, I urge the U.S. government to strengthen its work with the government of Nigeria to improve the rule of law and the protection of worship and indeed religious freedom. The bishops of Nigeria are clear: “Security actions must be intensified and refined. ... Much more needs to be done in the area of intelligence gathering, analyzing, interpreting and security equipment procurement. The terrorists must be identified, engaged, and disarmed.”

It is critical that the U.S. Government urge the Nigerian Government to work with civil society and all Nigerians to collaborate in ways that build, in the words of Pope Benedict XVI, “a peaceful and reconciled society, in which everyone’s right freely to profess their faith is fully protected.”

Thank you for your consideration of the Nigerian bishops’ concerns for their nation and their people.

Sincerely yours,

Most Reverend Richard E. Pates
Bishop of Des Moines
Chair, Committee on International Justice and Peace
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops


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