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Groups Seek UN Sanctions Against Countries Backing Boko Haram


Ayo Balogun, Lagos

Activists have sent an open letter to members of the United Nations (UN) Security Council urging the council to urgently initiative, support and adopt a resolution expressing grave concerns about the deteriorating human rights and humanitarian situation in several parts of the North-East of Nigeria in the context of the armed conflict between the Nigerian government and the Islamist group, Boko Haram.

In the letter dated 14 November, 2014, the groups want the council to request the African Union (AU) and ECOWAS to sanction any neighbouring states that may be aiding and abetting international crimes through weak border controls and other means; and banks that fail to monitor cash transactions in and out of their branches and thereby enable groups like Boko Haram to launder tainted money.

130929203511-boko-haram-screengrab-abubakar-shekau-horizontal-galleryThe groups are: Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), Enough is Enough Nigeria Coalition (EiE Nigeria), Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC), and Women Empowerment and Legal Aid Initiative (WELA)

According to the groups, “Initiating, supporting and adopting the proposed resolution will send a powerful message that the international community has not abandoned the victims and in fact ready to play a meaningful role to end the conflict which has continued to result in serious human rights violations, such as the unlawful killing and displacement of thousands of people.”

“Support from all Member States is important to demonstrate that an important institution of the UN committed to promoting international peace and security stand with the people of Nigeria.”

They asked the council to request the Secretary-General to appoint a Special Representative on the situation in the Northeast of Nigeria to investigate the complicity of any ECOWAS members, individuals or organizations and to report to the Council at regular intervals on the implementation of the proposed resolution.

The groups said that, “We strongly believe that the human rights and humanitarian situation in the Northeast of Nigeria now meets the threshold of “definite threat to international peace and security” in Article 39 of the UN Charter, thus requiring immediate and urgent action by Member States of the Security Council.”

“We believe that Member States now stand at a crossroads in their approach to the human rights and humanitarian tragedy in north-east of Nigeria. Now is the time for Member States to stand with the victims of serious violations of human rights in Nigeria if they are not to be accused of double standard in the discharge of the important mandates of the Security Council,” the groups also said.

They added that they were seriously concerned that the crisis continued to have devastating effects on the civilian population, in particular the most vulnerable and disadvantaged sector of the population such as the poor, children, women and elderly.

The groups also said that, “It has been shown that the Nigerian security forces are unable or unwilling to deter or halt the increasing attacks. The international obligations and commitments by the government to respect, protect and fulfil the human rights of the citizens against attacks are observed more in breach than compliance. Widespread poverty, corruption, security force abuses, and longstanding impunity for a range of crimes have created a fertile ground in Nigeria for militant armed groups like Boko Haram.”

The groups therefore urged member states to initiate, support and adopt a resolution that would express member States’ grave concerns over the continuing deterioration of the human rights and humanitarian situation in the Northeast of Nigeria, and encourage all efforts aimed at restoring lasting peace and stability.

They requested member States to fully cooperate with one another and with the African Union (AU) and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Member States and urged them to identify possible funding and support networks for Boko Haram and to disrupt these.

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