21Wilberforce Founder and President, Dr. Randel Everett, announced that the 2022 honoree is Bob Fu, Founder and President of ChinaAid. The 2022 laureate will be recognized at a dinner to be held in Dallas on October 17, 2022. Register to attend here.“Bob Fu is courageous and relentless in his support of those persecuted for their faith. He instills fear in the Chinese Communist Party as he exposes their abuse of Christians, Uyghurs, and other people of faith,” said 21Wilberforce’s Randel Everett. “Dr. Fu has earned the confidence of political and religious leaders with his accurate reports and effective strategies. The Frank Wolf International Religious Freedom Award is the highest honor 21Wilberforce bestows each year for one who follows the examples of William Wilberforce and Congressman Frank Wolf as a voice for the voiceless. We are honored to recognize Dr. Bob Fu as our 2022 recipient.” Read more here.
Campaign to Counter Violence and Rising Risk for Atrocity in Nigeria
21Wilberforce joined sixty-seven groups and experts from around the world in signing a letter to Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State, calling for Nigeria to be reinstated as a “Country of Particular Concern (CPC)”. Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo designated Nigeria as a CPC in 2020, but Secretary Blinken removed the designation in 2021 without explanation.
The letter raises concerns over the increase in violence targeting “Christians and Muslims who reject extremism” from terrorist groups like Boko Haram and Islamic State – West Africa Province (ISWAP), as well as other militia groups. Further, the letter asks the Secretary to appoint a Special Envoy in the region to investigate the religious freedom situation and make recommendations in consultation with local experts. Read more here.
Timothy Fellows Initiative Launches in 2022
21Wilberforce has launched a new initiative called “Timothy Fellows” for young Baptist professionals and students around the world. Currently, five of six regions within the Baptist World Alliance are represented and the first ten Fellows hail from the Benin, Brazil (2), Bulgaria, Germany, Ghana, Honduras, Nigeria, United Kingdom and the U.S.
21Wilberforce President Randel Everett and Trent Martin, 21W Advocacy and Training Coordinator are leading the emerging leader cohort. This is three-year training program designed to help the Fellows gain a deeper understanding of religious persecution and effective means to challenge oppression in their communities. Read more here.
USCIRF’s Crucial Work Will Continue
As acts of religiously motivated violence are on the increase, it is crucial to look beyond steps currently taken to address such atrocities and to consider what more can be done. However, to be able to do more, one has to have a good understanding of the situation, and of the concerns and the nuances within. No case of religious persecution is the same and only a targeted approach can provide for an adequate solution.
One of the actors providing such detailed analysis of situations of concern is the United States Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan, U.S. federal government commission created by the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA). Its aim is to monitor the implementation of the right to freedom of religion or belief around the world, in accordance with international law standards. USCIRF makes policy recommendations to the United States President, the Secretary of State, and Congress. Read more here.
Cardinal Zen Stands Trial in Hong Kong
Cardinal Joseph Zen and five others stood trial in Hong Kong on Monday, September 26th, for failing to properly register a fund to provide legal aid to pro-democracy protesters.
The 90-year-old cardinal and retired bishop of Hong Kong arrived at the court in West Kowloon on Sept. 26 using a cane to walk. He was arrested in May along with other democracy activists under Hong Kong’s strict national security law. In addition to Zen, who has been free on bail since early May, several others have been charged for failing to apply for local society registration for the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund between 2019 and 2021. Read more here.
OTHER USEFUL LINKS
Join 21Wilberforce on October 17th as we honor Dr. Bob Fu with the Frank Wolf International Religious Freedom Award at a dinner in the Great Hall at Dallas Baptist University. Register here.
On December 7, 2022, the Lantos Foundation will award its 14th Lantos Human Rights Prize to professional basketball player turned human rights activist Enes Kanter Freedom in Washington, DC. Register here.