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By Hannah Holmes

If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother. – Deuteronomy 15:7 (ESV)

This semester, I had the privilege of researching the case of SERAC v. Nigeria, an African human rights case about the Ogoni people who suffered violations of their socio-economic rights in Nigeria.

Photo originally posted in The Guardian of Ogoni farmer. Photograph: MARTEN VAN DIJL/EPA.

Researching the SERAC case was important because the Ogoni people were able to gain the attention of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights. Ultimately, the Ogonis received a favorable judgment where the Commission found that Nigeria had violated their human rights. Understanding what the Ogoni people did to raise awareness about the violations of their rights can help persecuted Christians in Nigeria learn how to garner more international human rights attention to their cause.

Of all the places in the world where persecution of Christians is happening, Nigeria is home to a significant percentage of the persecution. Our team’s project was to assist Advocates Africa, a Christian nonprofit, in understanding the successes and failures of the SERAC case to ultimately raise awareness about Nigeria’s religious persecution in an international human rights forum.

While I had some idea about Christian persecution, it was limited knowledge. This project has really helped me gain a perspective on all the moving parts of a cause that most people do not see. The research I helped with at times seemed as though it was not relevant to the specific issue at hand, but looking at the big picture helped me realize that these tiny details matter. In addition, this project has opened my eyes to problems in other countries that most Americans are unaware of or choose to ignore. 

With respect to the Center’s mission, I truly lived out what the Center is trying to do this semester. The Center for Global Justice seeks to equip Christian advocates to fight for those who do not have the opportunities and freedoms afforded to us here in the United States. Further, the Center assists other groups in their human rights advocacy, which was the whole purpose of this project assisting Advocates International. This project, although only a portion of the big picture, has helped me understand that every Christian can make a difference. The first step is educating oneself. I am so blessed to be afforded this opportunity and excited to see what next semester brings.

This post was written by a Center for Global Justice student staff member. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect those of Regent University, Regent Law School, or the Center for Global Justice.