NGOs call on Biden administration to protect Congolese Christians by allowing them to live in the United States


Several NGOs have written to the Secretary of the United States Department of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayokas, asking him to allow Christian Congolese citizens to remain in the United States and to issue them a work permit, because they risk facing serious persecution. in their native country.

International Christian Concern (ICC) revealed on Saturday that a group of non-governmental organizations (without specifying which ones), sent a letter to the Secretary of the United States Department of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayokas, asking him to grant temporary protected status ( TPS) to citizens of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

This is an immigration status, existing since 1990, which allows foreign nationals of the designated country to stay in the United States and have access to a work permit.

The countries that currently enjoy this status are Afghanistan, Cameroon, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Ukraine, Venezuela and Yemen .

ICC points to the violent persecution suffered by Christians in eastern DRC, targeted by extremist groups such as the Allied Democratic Forces, an Islamist group mainly active in the province of North Kivu, near the border with Uganda.

“Although the Congolese government pushes back these terrorist groups, insufficient attention is given to Christian communities, which are targeted for their religious beliefs,” ICC points out.

The organization further recalls that last June, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called religious freedom a “vital foreign policy priority.”

The DRC is ranked 40th in theOpen Doors Global Christian Persecution Index which evokes a “very complex situation” in the country. “Many armed groups oppose each other, including some with an expansionist Islamic agenda. The persistent violence against Christians has caused a strong displacement of the population and arouses great concern,” according to the NGO.

Camille Westphal Perrier

Image: Goma, North Kivu, DRC - September 2017: street scene

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