(Washington, D.C.) — This week, Reps. Al Green (D-TX) and Joaquin Castro (D-TX) introduced a resolution calling for the protection and promotion of freedom of expression and assembly in Nigeria. PEN America commends Reps. Green and Castro for their leadership to safeguard free expression and human rights in one of America’s most important allied countries, and calls on other members of the House of Representatives to join the resolution in support of the rights of the Nigerian people.

“Extending solidarity towards those who bravely exercise their right to free expression abroad, sometimes in the face of tremendous personal risk, can and should be a centerpiece of American foreign policy,” said Dokhi Fassihian, interim Washington director of PEN America. “The indiscriminate use of live fire by Nigerian security forces on crowds of protesters in October 2020 marked a violent escalation in Nigeria’s closures of civic spaces and attacks on free expression, which have long targeted journalists, media outlets, students, civil society and religious leaders, artists, and musicians. We strongly support action by the U.S. Congress to respond to attacks on free expression and civic space in Nigeria and elsewhere, especially as we reconcile with the global onslaught against human rights we’ve seen accelerate this year. We commend Reps. Green and Mr. Castro for this effort, and hope other members will join in reaffirming respect for freedom of expression as a cornerstone of our nation’s engagement with Nigeria.”