Nigeria + 3 more

Report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict in Nigeria (S/2017/304)

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The present report is submitted pursuant to Security Council resolution 1612 (2005) and subsequent resolutions on children and armed conflict. It is the first report of the Secretary-General on the situation in Nigeria and contains information on the impact of armed conflict on children during the period from January 2013 to December 2016.

The report focuses on the three States in the north-east most affected by the conflict (Adamawa, Borno and Yobe) and highlights grave violations against children committed by parties to the conflict, including Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad (commonly known as “Boko Haram), the Nigerian security forces and Civilian Joint Task Force. In the context of the regional spillover of Boko Haram’s activities, issues of concern in neighbouring countries are also included.

The report notes that the highly volatile and rapidly evolving security situation in north-eastern Nigeria often resulted in limited monitoring access for the United Nations, and as a consequence, the information contained in the report does not reflect the full scale of the grave violations committed against children. However, the report documents trends and provides information on verified incidents, including a large number of attacks on schools, the mass abduction of children and the use of girls as suicide bombers by Boko Haram. The screening and detention of children for their alleged association with Boko Haram is also highlighted.

At the end of the report, the Secretary-General provides recommendations to end and prevent grave violations in Nigeria and improve the protection of children.

I. Introduction

1. The present report, which is prepared pursuant to Security Council resolution 1612 (2005) and subsequent resolutions on children and armed conflict, is the first on Nigeria. It covers the period from January 2013 to December 2016 and highlights trends and patterns pertaining to the six grave violations against children in the context of the conflict in the north-eastern region of the country.

2. Following the listing of Boko Haram for the killing and maiming of children and attacks on schools and hospitals, Nigeria was included as a country situation in my annual report on children and armed conflict (A/68/878-S/2014/339), issued in May 2014. In December 2014, the in-country monitoring and reporting mechanism on grave violations was initiated. Shortly thereafter, in January 2015, my Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict visited Nigeria and launched the country task force on monitoring and reporting. In June 2015 and April 2016, respectively, Boko Haram and the Civilian Joint Task Force were listed in the annexes to my annual reports on the recruitment and use of children (see A/69/926-S/2015/409 and A/70/836-S/2016/360). Following a request by the Security Council in its resolution 2225 (2015) to list parties to conflict that engage in the abduction of children, Boko Haram was also included in the annexes to my report of April 2016 (A/70/836-S/2016/360) for that violation.

3. From January 2013 until mid-2015, the verification of incidents was challenging, owing to the volatile security situation in north-eastern Nigeria and the lack of access to the populations most affected by the conflict. As the Nigerian security forces retook territory from Boko Haram in 2015 and 2016, the country task force on monitoring and reporting was able to verify an increasing number of incidents. Some areas remained inaccessible, however, and violations are likely to be underreported. Therefore, in addition to verified violations in areas where access was possible, the present report describes trends based on credible information on incidents and a comprehensive analysis.