UN rights commissioner urges action against perpetrators
from OKORO CHINEDU in Lagos, Nigeria
LAGOS, (CAJ News) – THE United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, has urged the new administration of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari to take urgent measures to bring to justice perpetrators of human rights violations and abuses.
Zeid said action had to be taken whether the perpetrators were non-State or State actors.
He also called on the authorities to ensure that counter-insurgency operations do not result in furthering the human rights devastation in the northeast of the country.
The High Commissioner acknowledged the tremendous challenges faced by the
Government of Nigeria in its efforts to combat Boko Haram, but he stressed the importance of ensuring that security forces uphold the rule of law, in accordance with their human rights obligations.
“I am encouraged by President Buhari’s promise that this new administration will leave no stone unturned to promote the rule of law and ensure justice and the protection of human rights while countering terrorism,” Zeid said from Switzerland.
“I urge him to act without delay to establish proper independent inquiries into alleged violations of international human rights and international humanitarian law by the Nigerian armed forces and related militia, and in particular into the deeply disturbing allegations that thousands of people have died or been killed while held in detention by State institutions.”
Zeid said he understood there had been a number of investigations by the authorities and he call on them to publicize the findings.
“Investigations into human rights violations must be conducted in a transparent manner, in order to inspire confidence and deter further violations. This is crucial to ensure that victims of Boko Haram’s crimes are not doubly victimized by their own Government.”
The High Commissioner stressed that the United Nations Human Rights Office stood ready to advise the Government on ensuring its counter-terrorism operations are in line with international law.
The Office is currently advising the military authorities on a review of the rules of engagement and the code of conduct for counter-terrorism and military operations in the northeast.
Zeid also called on the authorities to ensure that those who have been rescued from towns previously held by Boko Haram have access to psychosocial help and assistance in reintegrating into their communities.
– CAJ News
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