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Human Rights Council condemns gross abuses perpetrated by terrorist group Boko Haram

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AFTERNOON

Requests the High Commissioner for Human Rights to Prepare a Report on Violations and Abuses of Human Rights and Atrocities Committed by Boko Haram

The Human Rights Council this afternoon concluded its Special Session on Boko Haram after condemning gross abuses perpetrated by Boko Haram, calling for increased collaboration of the international community with the States affected by the terrorist activities of Boko Haram to monitor and dry up all possible sources of financing, and requesting the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare a report on violations and abuses of human rights and atrocities committed by the terrorist group Boko Haram with a view towards accountability.

In the resolution on atrocities committed by the terrorist group Boko Haram and its effects on human rights in the affected countries, the Council condemned in the strongest terms the gross abuses of international human rights law and violations of international humanitarian law perpetrated by Boko Haram. The Council called upon those who provided support and resources to Boko Haram to put an immediate end to any such support that was contrary to international human rights law, and called for increased collaboration of the international community with the States affected by the terrorist activities of Boko Haram to monitor and dry up all possible sources of financing.

The Council also called for the perpetrators of heinous crimes committed by the terrorist group Boko Haram to be brought before the competent courts of the affected States to ensure that those responsible for abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law, including attacks targeting civilians, were held accountable. It requested the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to collect information from affected countries and in close cooperation and consultation with them, in order to prepare a report on violations and abuses of human rights and atrocities committed by the terrorist group Boko Haram in the countries affected by such acts, with a view towards accountability.

Speakers in the discussion strongly condemned the atrocities committed by Boko Haram and welcomed the initiative of the African Group to place that issue high on the Council’s agenda. It was noted that a sustainable response to terrorism had to go beyond its manifestations in order to address the root causes and to quash the allure of terrorist groups. The crisis generated by Boko Haram was not only limited to affected countries. It entailed wider consequences at the global level, and thus it was important to reduce inequalities, poverty and marginalization in order to increase the participation of everyone and reduce chances for recruitment by extremist ideologies. States were cautioned not to use counter-terrorism measures as a reason to give up their human rights obligations. National authorities had the primary responsibility to uphold respect for human rights and to provide protection and humanitarian assistance to those within their borders.

Ghana, Ethiopia, Pakistan, France, Brazil, India, Botswana, Mexico, Ireland, Japan, Maldives, Venezuela, Cuba, Viet Nam, Gabon, Republic of Congo, Togo, Czech Republic, Niger, Iran, Australia, Poland, Syria, Turkey, Canada, Switzerland, Austria, Israel, Sri Lanka, Mali, Holy See, Benin, Mozambique, Egypt, Greece, Costa Rica, Chile, Luxembourg, Nepal, Ecuador, Sudan, Belgium, Slovenia, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, South Sudan, Iraq, Bahrain, Guinea, Jamaica, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Italy, Djibouti, Uruguay, Senegal, Burundi, Spain, Jordan, Philippines, Mauritania, and Somalia took the floor, as did the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

Algeria, speaking on behalf of the African Group, introduced the resolution. Latvia spoke in a general comment on behalf of the European Union. The United States spoke in an explanation of the vote after the vote.

The following non-governmental organizations took the floor: Human Rights Watch, Caritas Internationalis, International Federation for Human Rights Leagues (FIDH), Organisation pour la Communication en Afrique et de Promotion de la Cooperation Economique Internationale, Rencontre Africaine pour la defense des droits de l’homme, Amnesty International, Tchad Agir pour le Developpément, United Nations Watch, Union of Arab Jurists, Indian Council of South America, and International Movement Against all Forms of Discrimination and Racism.

The Special Session opened this morning with keynote statements by Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; Mireille Fanon Mendes France, Member of the Coordination Committee of Special Procedures; and Pierre Buyoya, High Representative of the African Union for Mali and the Sahel; as well as statements by concerned countries delivered by Pierre Moukoko Mbonjo, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Cameroon; Mahamat Issa Halikimi, Minister of Justice and Human Rights of Chad; and Danjuma Nanpon Sheni, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Nigeria.

A summary of their statements can be found here.

This was the twenty-third Special Session of the Human Rights Council. Documentation relating to the Special Session, including the resolution, is available on the Human Rights Council webpage. The twenty-ninth regular session of the Human Rights Council will take place from 15 to June to 3 July 2015.