Updated: Jul 28
10 July 2023 - GENEVA | Jubilee Campaign brings Nigerian and Pakistani human rights defenders to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva to raise the plight of Nigeria and Pakistan's Christians and other religious groups who are persecuted under the governments' draconian anti-blasphemy laws which sanction the death penalty for blasphemy.*
Jubilee Campaign together with over 90 individuals and organisations last year passed a Charter calling for the repeal of the death penalty for apostasy and blasphemy and worked to get new language adopted into the UN General Assembly resolutions on the moratorium on the death penalty and extrajudicial and summary executions. This side-event will provide a platform to raise this initiative and push for implementation.
Fatima Njoku is a lawyer and Advocacy Director of Stefanos Foundation based in Abuja, Nigeria. Stefanos Foundation is a human rights advocacy, relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction organization that works to help victims of aggression and those suffering discrimination simply for being Christian in Nigeria by providing intelligence gathering, leadership training, trauma healing, and services for internally displaced people camps. Stefanos Foundation creates awareness both locally and internationally on persecution of Christians and is a longterm partner of Jubilee Campaign.
Kola Alapinni is an International Human Rights lawyer who worked to overturn the Nigerian authorities' court decision to sentence to death Sufi singer Yahaya Sharif Aminu. He also represented a teenager who authorities accused of blasphemy and had sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. He is currently working for the release of Yahaya Sharif Aminu while challenging the continued unconstitutional application of sharia law penalties in the northern states of Nigeria.
The speakers from Nigeria will also bring attention to the concerning cycle of impunity enjoyed by Fulani militants and other criminal gangs responsible for the killings and attacks of predominately Christian indigenous populations in the Middle Belt of villages - urging international pressure to force the authorities of Nigeria to act.
[Jubilee Campaign raised similar concerns during the Canadian parliamentary hearing in the Spring]
Joseph Janssen who works with Jubilee Campaign Netherlands' office and is himself a survivor of anti-blasphemy laws in Pakistan will present an oral statement at the Human Rights Council. He will address the UN Human Rights Council on Monday 10th July during the adoption of Pakistan's Universal Periodic Review outcomes. Joseph works for the release of numerous religious prisoners of conscience detained under Pakistan's anti-blasphemy laws, among them, the case of Anwar Kenneth. Pakistani authorities have detained Anwar Kenneth since 2001 for blasphemy and have been detaining him on death row.
Watch the livestream of his statement between from 10:00AM-11:30AM CET here.
*in Nigeria this penalty is applied in its 12 northern states in violation of its own Constitution. In Pakistan the death penalty for blasphemy is an applicable sanction in the whole of Pakistan.
HOW YOU CAN PRAY:
Please pray for good attendance at the 11 July side-event - for key people to be present to bring change in Nigeria and Pakistan;
Pray for the speakers - for their plea to be heard and understood;
Pray for all the logistics of the side-event;
Pray for the communities and individuals the speakers are aiding - for hope, protection, justice and freedom.
The side-event will take place at the same time as Pakistan [and other states with egregious anti-blasphemy laws] have called for an urgent debate to address religious hatred focusing on the burning of Qurans in different European countries - pray that God will use this to bring more attention to the sacred lives at risk by religious hatred motivated by anti-blasphemy and anti-apostasy laws.
For more information on Jubilee Campaign's projects, advocacy, and initiatives, please visit our website by clicking on this link.