Thursday, 16 June 2022
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
357. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the steps that Ireland is taking to combat the ongoing religiously motivated persecution of Christians and Catholics in Nigeria; if his attention has been drawn to the massacre that took place recently (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31651/22]
I condemn the 5 June attack on innocent civilians attending St. Francis Catholic Church in Owo, Nigeria, in a diocese with links to Irish missionaries. This atrocious attack resulted in multiple deaths, reportedly at least 40, and many others wounded. I would like to express my deepest condolences to all of the families affected.
The Embassy of Ireland in Abuja, Nigeria, is monitoring developments in the investigation.
This deadly attack is the latest incident in Nigeria in recent years. The deteriorating security situation has many complex and interwoven drivers provoking tensions within and between groups. Increased violence against civilians is a tragic consequence of these tensions, which can also have a sectarian dimension.
I condemn all attacks on civilians in Nigeria, and elsewhere, irrespective of who the perpetrators of such violence are, and their purported motives. There is no justification for acts of violence or discrimination based on religion or beliefs.
The Embassy of Ireland in Abuja advocates for the protection of human rights, including the free expression of thought, conscience and religion including through the Irish Aid programme, working closely with government authorities, civil society organisations, and our EU and UN partners. As an elected member of the UN Security Council, Ireland works with UN partners to promote peace and security in areas affected by insecurity.
The humanitarian situation in Nigeria, arising from the Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast of the country, affecting millions of people is also of deep concern. Ireland is a member of the International Support Group; a donor forum to coordinate support for Boko Haram-affected areas around Lake Chad. In 2021, Ireland provided €1 million to the Nigerian Humanitarian Fund, which is managed by UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) and provides life-saving assistance to communities affected by the conflict in the north east of the country.