Search For Common Ground Engages Stakeholders In Abuja To A Meeting On Advancing Religious Tolerance in Nigeria

Monday, 10th of June, 2019, Search for Common Ground, A Non-profit Organization partnering with people around the world to ignite shared solutions to destructive conflicts and working at all levels of society to build sustainable peace through three main avenues - Dialogue, Media, and Community, engaged stakeholders from across the state in Nigeria to a meeting in Abuja on Advancing Religious Tolerance (ART 38)) aimed to advance the protection of religious freedom and tolerance among religious communities which in turn reduce vigilante justice tied to issues pertaining to religious freedom in Nigeria.

The  ART. 38 project is targeted to reach a large selection of Nigerian society and will trigger multi-level conversations and response to religious freedom violations. Engaging directly with stakeholders at national, regional and local levels to reduce interfaith conflicts, promote collaborations and encourage policymakers to enhance national justice reforms that support religious pluralism.

Goal, Objectives and Expected Results of the Project

The overall goal of advancing the protection of religious freedom and tolerance among religious communities that reduces vigilante justice tied to issues pertaining to religious freedom in Nigeria which is supported by two specific objectives and three expected results, which will guide the ART.38’s actions:

Objective 1:
To enable lawyers and advocates to effectively use human rights protection laws and frameworks in the formal justice system to protect victims of violations to religious freedom, as well as educate others on their rights;

Result 1:
Lawyers and advocates have an increased knowledge of international human rights norms and mechanisms and they effectively use them to address human rights violations in Nigeria.

Objective 2:
To mobilize religious leaders and policy makers to jointly counter violent rhetoric through positive public messages of religious pluralism and respect of human rights;

Result 2.1:
Improved and positive collaboration among religious stakeholders, policy makers, civil society and citizens in promoting religious freedom and interfaith tolerance at the community as well as legislative level

Result 2.2:
Increased community, state and national level platforms, as well as media platforms are available for conversations that challenge violent narratives and promote tolerance and positive perception of other faiths

The technical meeting presided by Ms Fatima and attended by various religious organization's stakeholders and representatives set out the agenda by taking an overview of the project, highlights from the last technical meeting, zonal engagements on outcomes, lessons learnt and implications, presentation by zonal meeting representatives as they reviewed the State action plan, identified regions with specific issues while proffering solutions for harmony building in inter-organizational collaborations and bridge building.

These resulted in the setup of a Project Advisory Council which will play a vital role in the generation of media peace message engagement with youth.