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

AFTERNOON

1st April 2015

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.

Discussion

Ghana pledged support for the efforts of the African Union to combat the atrocities committed not only by Boko Haram, but also by other militant groups in Libya, Kenya and other countries affected by terrorism. It called upon all Member States to support consensus on the draft resolution, which should send the right message both to Boko Haram and to the authorities of the affected countries. The affected countries would appreciate the support of the international community in the form of technical assistance and funding.

Ethiopia condemned crimes committed by Boko Haram and congratulated the people of Nigeria on the successful completion of presidential elections. Boko Haram was threatening peace and security in Africa, and Ethiopia welcomed the formation of the multinational task force. The task force needed necessary support from the international community. Support was also necessary to address the plight of internally displaced persons and refugees.

Pakistan welcomed the convening of the Special Session and expressed solidarity with the African Group. It strongly condemned human rights violations, regardless of who the perpetrators were. It was deeply concerned about the crimes committed by Boko Haram. Their activities endangered the enjoyment of fundamental rights by people in west Africa. Pakistan noted that States held the primary responsibility for the protection of human rights.

France said that regional efforts to fight Boko Haram, which were starting to bear fruit, must be further supported, and called upon the concerned countries to bring those responsible for crimes to justice and to put in place a mechanism for support to victims. The United Nations also had a role to play in the fight against impunity, and the fact-finding mission by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights would greatly contribute to this goal. Respect for international humanitarian law and human rights law in the fight against terrorism was an essential condition.

Brazil said that this Special Session should focus on effective measures to address the human rights challenges in the fight against terrorist acts and other abuses perpetrated by Boko Haram. All perpetrators of human rights violations must be held accountable for their acts. The growing multinational character of violations and abuses committed by Boko Haram, which now reached into vast territories in several African countries, was of deep concern and Brazil appreciated initiatives undertaken at the regional level.

India said that terrorism was the most serious challenge to international peace and noted that the perpetrators of terror had established a strong and geographically widespread network of recruitment, funding and operations, with regional logistical and supply chains and transnational financing systems. The normative frameworks to deal with terrorism were deficient and India called for an early adoption of a comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism, which would help define a legal and normative basis for an effective counter-terrorism cooperation framework.

Botswana strongly condemned the flagrant disregard for human rights, the ruthless and senseless killing of civilians, including women and children, as well as the mass displacement of people in Nigeria by Boko Haram. The humanitarian situation continued to worsen, with more than 1 million internally displaced persons in Nigeria, and more than 200,000 refugees in neighbouring countries. Botswana supported all regional and international efforts to end the carnage and human rights abuses by Boko Haram, and welcomed the formation of the multinational joint task force.

Mexico vehemently condemned all acts of violence perpetrated by Boko Haram, and expressed concern about the serious humanitarian situation in the affected countries. Terrorism should not be linked to any religion, nationality, civilization or ethnic group. All the measures adopted in the fight against terrorism should conform to the principles of international humanitarian law.

Ireland highlighted that Boko Haram had grown to represent a threat to the entire region. It was the responsibility of the Government of Nigeria and its military authorities to create a secure environment in which human rights of all were promoted and protected. Ireland urged Nigeria to consider the valuable guidance, support and expertise which the Special Procedures could provide in promoting and protecting human rights while countering the terrorist activities of Boko Haram.

Japan said that countless lives were being lost in the African continent and in the world in acts of terrorism by the hands of extremist groups. Heinous acts of terrorism perpetrated by Boko Haram continued unabated and Japan continued to hope that all concerned countries would collaborate with other African States and the international community to take effective measures to contain the threat that Boko Haram posed to the people. Japan commended the efforts by the States in the region.

Maldives joined others in expressing concern about abuses by Boko Haram and condemned those acts in the strongest terms, as they threatened regional peace and security. The inhumane activities of Boko Haram had been ongoing since 2009, and last year the world had witnessed the escalation in violence, with torture, rape, and killings. Immediate measures needed to be taken to ensure safety and protection of civilians and the Maldives called upon the international community to provide all assistance to the region to protect them from such terrorist activities.

Venezuela expressed deep sadness and dismay at the crisis gripping Africa because of terrorist acts by Boko Haram. Venezuela rejected those practices and called for an end of those criminal actions that brought sadness and grief to hundreds of families. Venezuela appealed for tolerance and respect of life to prevail and said that the crisis triggered by those groups must be categorically condemned and rejected by nations.

Cuba reiterated its categorical condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, wherever it occurred and whoever was responsible for terrorist acts. It also condemned any action that supported and financed terrorist acts and practices. Cuba condemned massacres of civilian populations in the affected countries and expressed conviction that African leaders had the ability to resolve the crisis.

Viet Nam shared the profound concerns of the international community about the human rights abuses and violations committed by the terrorist group Boko Haram. It welcomed the political will and practical efforts of the countries concerned to address the terrorist activities of Boko Haram. It supported the role of the Human Rights Council in providing assistance and relevant venues for international cooperation.

Gabon reiterated its solidarity with the people of Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger, which suffered on a daily basis due to the attacks by the terrorist group Boko Haram. The Government of Gabon was aware of the danger posed by Boko Haram for central Africa. It was a serious threat that aimed to undermine the efforts of African governments to ensure the well-being of their populations. Thus Gabon called upon all Member States to adopt the draft resolution.

Republic of Congo warmly welcomed the presence of African leaders in this Special Session which testified to the interest to combat and eradicate terrorism. The Republic of Congo was committed to fighting Boko Haram as evidenced by its active awareness raising about its horrific acts, and the mobilization of necessary funds. There was a clear need for concerted African action. The Republic of Congo noted the socio-economic impact of terrorism on the life of the affected countries.

Togo said that the Human Rights Council had an obligation to take action in light of terrorist acts perpetrated by Boko Haram and welcomed regional initiatives to combat this terrorist group. Togo called for adequate financial support for the deployment of the Joint Multinational Task Force and invited Member States to adopt by consensus the draft resolution.

Czech Republic said that the deteriorating human rights situation in the region deserved the Council’s attention and was worried by the displacement of an estimated one million people. The multinational Joint Task Force must ensure that the operations undertaken to combat Boko Haram and other terrorist groups must comply with international law, and perpetrators of all human rights abuses and violations on both sides must be held accountable.

Niger noted that in the Lake Chad basin, terrorism and violent extremism were manifested through abuses and human rights violations committed by Boko Haram. Everything had to be done in order to ensure that their crimes did not go unpunished. In that respect the support of the international community was indispensable in order to strengthen material and financial resources of States to fight terrorism. Help was also essential in order to address the plight of displaced populations and refugees, and to rehabilitate regions affected by the violence

Iran said that violent extremism was frightening as it threatened the basic foundation of international human rights law. Iran condemned in the strongest terms the crimes perpetrated by Boko Haram. At the same time, Iran rejected stereotypes that attached the name of Islam to bloody and violent acts committed by those heinous groups. To tackle the sinister menace of extremism, States should come together with a common resolve to address any conceptual, structural and procedural shortcomings which had led to such atrocious situations.

Australia joined the international community in condemning in the strongest terms the terrorist activities of Boko Haram. It stressed that any measures taken or means employed to counter terrorism had to comply with States’ obligations under international law. Oversight and accountability processes were an important part of ensuring that human rights remained protected. The international community had to ensure that those responsible for serious international crimes were held accountable.

Poland said that the scale and brutality of abuses committed by Boko Haram were appalling, and created a climate of intolerance towards members of religious or ethnic minorities, which could result in the dramatic rise of sectarian tensions and lead to large-scale religious persecution. Peace, security and observance of human rights required building trust, and Poland trusted that Governments of affected States had made effective provisions to protect minorities’ rights.

Syria said that the danger of terrorism must be addressed in cooperation with affected countries. It was very important to put an end to terrorists’ sources of funds. Terrorism posed a growing threat to many regions in the world and it was important to abandon double standards. Boko Haram had pledged allegiance to Da’esh in March, which was proof of the need to fight terrorism as a whole.

Turkey said that terrorism posed an immediate threat to international peace and security and could not have any justification. Any attempt to affiliate terrorism with any religion or ethnic group was utterly wrong and would play into the hands of terrorists. Turkey was deeply concerned about continuing violations of human rights by Boko Haram and welcomed the decision to establish a Multi-National Joint Task Force mandated by the African Union.

Canada expressed deep concern about the atrocities committed by Boko Haram, which had resulted in a humanitarian crisis in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger. It condemned in the strongest terms Boko Haram’s widespread and grave abuses of international human rights law. National authorities had the primary responsibility to uphold respect for human rights and to provide protection and humanitarian assistance to those within their borders. Canada supported the coordination between Nigeria and its neighbours to address this regional security threat.

Switzerland condemned in the strongest terms the atrocities committed by Boko Haram against the civilian population in northeast Nigeria and the region. It recalled that the committed abuses and violations should not be understood by States as a reason to give up their human rights obligations. States should always respect human rights within the territories they controlled. To that end, Switzerland called on all Member States to respect their obligations, and to ensure that any abuse was investigated.

Austria welcomed the convening of the Special Session in light of the abuses committed by Boko Haram. It noted that the United Nations and the Human Rights Council had to send a strong message and condemn the perpetrated crimes. It fully supported the call for the investigation of all abuses and violations of human rights. Due attention should also be given to the reports of alleged human rights violations committed in counter-terrorist measures.

Israel said that although Boko Haram had been conducting its horrific atrocities for years, the Human Rights Council was late to respond to it and only now agreed to address it. This “too little, too late” approach defined this body’s general attitude toward terrorist organizations and their sponsors. To look at Boko Haram as a Nigerian problem, or even as an African problem, would be an unfortunate mistake. It was one face of the global challenge of extreme Islamist terrorism that had no boundaries and went beyond regions and countries.

Sri Lanka was concerned about the spread of atrocities by Boko Haram into Nigeria’s neighbouring countries, thus contributing to the climate of fear in the region. Sri Lanka recognized that the fight against terrorism required a holistic approach and welcomed the initiatives of the affected countries and the African Union. It was hoped that this Special Session would propel nations into action and provide support to the affected countries.

Mali hoped that the work of the Special Session would draw up viable solutions to put an end to the atrocities of Boko Haram and said that the Human Rights Council must be at the forefront of providing answers in accordance with its mission. Mali called upon the international community to provide assistance to the population of the affected countries and called for international synergy to stem out the sources of financing of this and other terrorist groups.

Holy See noted that the merciless acts of Boko Haram exhibited development and dissemination of a radical and ruthless type of extremism inspired by an ideology which attempted to justify its crimes in the name of religion. Crimes in the name of religion were never justified. Massacring innocent people in the name of God was not religion but the manipulation of religion for ulterior motives. The Holy See encouraged an international collaborative effort to address the given crisis with urgency in order to prevent the extension of Boko Haram and other terrorist groups.

Benin expressed solidarity with the victims of Boko Haram, notably with the 200 school girls in the state of Borno in Nigeria. The gravity of the crimes committed by Boko Haram called for the mobilization of all in order to combat such odious acts of extreme violence. Benin therefore called on the Council to adopt the draft resolution, and to adopt urgent measures to eradicate the phenomenon of Boko Haram.

Mozambique commended the Human Rights Council for convening the Special Session devoted to the human rights violations and abuses committed by Boko Haram. It appealed to the international community at large to take immediate and effective measures aimed at eliminating the scourge of terrorism. The adoption of the draft resolution by consensus would constitute a strong signal of the commitment to that cause.

Egypt highlighted the importance of this Special Session which was dealing with one of the greatest threats to human rights not only in west and central Africa, but in the African continent as a whole. The trans-boundary nature of terrorism necessitated closer cooperation between all parties concerned, regionally and internationally. Such cooperation should aim at pre-empting the commission of any terrorist activities and seeking to hold the perpetrators of atrocities accountable in a way that would combat impunity.

Greece said that violent and horrific acts of the terrorist organization Boko Haram deserved collective condemnation in the strongest possible terms. Its atrocities must not go unpunished; the international community must ensure full accountability. Greece welcomed the leading role played by the African Union and sub-regional organizations to address the threats posed by Boko Haram and encouraged the efforts of the Multi-National Joint Task Force to enhance efforts to prevent civilian casualties and develop an effective approach to the protection of civilians.

Costa Rica expressed outrage at atrocities by Boko Haram, which were an affront to international humanitarian law and human rights and undermined peace and security in the whole region. The perpetrators must be brought to justice and those found guilty must be held to account. Boko Haram had developed its destructive capacities because it had access to resources; States and others who supported this access were also responsible for human rights violations and could be brought to justice.

Chile welcomed the initiative of the African Group that sought to address the humanitarian crisis and the violation of human rights by Boko Haram that had undermined security in Nigeria and neighbouring countries. 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.

Luxembourg condemned in the strongest terms the atrocities committed by the terrorist group Boko Haram. It attached great importance to the plight of women and children who were subjected to the worst physical, psychological and sexual violence. All those odious acts, however, should not allow concerned States to give up on their primary responsibilities, such as protecting their populations and respecting international humanitarian law.

Nepal noted that terrorism endangered global peace and security, and seriously undermined the enjoyment of fundamental rights and freedoms. It expressed great concern that some groups carried out violence merely to attract attention. Terrorism could be better tackled through coordinated international efforts. Underlying causes of terrorism, such as poverty and marginalization, should be addressed in the efforts to fight terrorism.

Ecuador expressed concern at the violence committed by Boko Haram in which 15,000 persons had lost their lives. Ecuador was particularly outraged by the use of children to carry out suicide attacks and abhorred the abduction of women and children whose fate remained unknown. The Council had taken too long to listen to the voices of victims and Ecuador welcomed the holding of this Special Session so that this issue could be openly discussed.

Sudan expressed concern at the flagrant violation of human rights by Boko Haram against civilians in a number of African countries. National, regional and international efforts must be stepped up to create a mechanism to put an end to this phenomenon in Africa. The international community and all partners should increase their support for the affected countries in their fight against terrorism.

Belgium said that atrocities by Boko Haram should be considered war crimes and crime against humanity and said that special attention must be paid to protecting women and children and other vulnerable groups. Belgium was concerned about credible reports of human rights violations by security forces, including torture in prisons and the high number of extrajudicial killings. Belgium supported the inquiry by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights into the overall human rights situation in the country.

Slovenia expressed great concern about the grave abuses and human rights violations committed by Boko Haram, and deeply deplored the abduction of girls and the recruitment of child soldiers. While welcoming the efforts of the African Union to combat the threat of Boko Haram, it called for a more coordinated effort at the international level. It stressed that the investigation of all crimes should be conducted.

Lebanon welcomed the Special Session of the Council and condemned the activities of Boko Haram in Nigeria and neighbouring countries. Terrorism was spreading. Boko Haram had ties with Da’esh in the Middle East. It was noted that the activities by Boko Haram tended to pervert Islam, especially acts against women and girls. Terrorism was a terrible attack on States and Lebanon thus called upon the Council to act as a platform for expressing dismay with respect to terrorism.

Libya strongly condemned the acts of Boko Haram which constituted a dangerous threat to Nigeria and neighbouring countries. It expressed solidarity with the victims of Boko Haram’s attacks, noting that it was necessary to bring the perpetrators of such heinous crimes to justice. The danger of the terrorist threat was present in multiple countries and thus it should be the priority of the international community to provide aid and support to the affected countries.

Malaysia strongly condemned the abduction of women and girls who were then subjected to forced marriage and sexual violence by Boko Haram, and the abduction of children and forcing them into becoming child soldiers and human shields. Fighting terrorism demanded effective international action in accordance with the United Nations Charter and needed to be addressed in a more comprehensive manner, including through developmental efforts to address socio-economic roots of terrorism.

South Sudan welcomed the convening of this Special Session and reaffirmed its solidarity with the affected States. The international community should provide multi-faceted support to the affected States in fighting Boko Haram and humanitarian assistance to the displaced civilians. South Sudan welcomed the leading role of the African Union and regional organizations in addressing the threat and welcomed the establishment of the Multi-National Joint Task Force.

Iraq said that human rights violations perpetrated by extremist terrorist groups had increased and spread. Terrorist groups today constituted the major source of human rights violations in several countries in the world, including in Iraq, which suffered from attacks by Da’esh. The spread of this terrorist group in many other countries was a cause for alarm, because of the risk that it would grow into a trans-national group that could not be easily dismantled.

Bahrain welcomed the convening of the Special Session and supported combatting religious extremism. It was important that all States fought terrorism. Bahrain condemned the human rights violations committed by Boko Haram and rejected all forms of terrorism, noting that such acts only shattered societies and stopped normal people from living normal lives. The adoption of a multi-dimensional approach was necessary in order to address the root causes of terrorism.

Guinea reiterated the commitment of African countries to the fight against terrorism. It was noted that Boko Haram had nothing to do with Islam and that the root causes of terrorism needed to be addressed. There was a need for immediate reaction to the spread of extremist ideologies.

Jamaica condemned acts of terrorism perpetrated by Boko Haram, whose trail of blood and victimization had undermined the stability of communities and regions in Nigeria and neighbouring countries. Sustainable response to terrorism had to go beyond its manifestations, no matter how horrific, and address the root causes. In that way, the allure of such groups would be quashed.

Organization of Islamic Cooperation said that Boko Haram spread fear and despair in west Africa and particularly in Nigeria. Boko Haram was launching itself in the frenzy of destruction which would take a long time to heal. It aimed to expand and was spreading into many other countries in Africa; its links went beyond Da’esh and it was transforming into a global and trans-national phenomenon. This was a major concern to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

Democratic Republic of the Congo said that atrocities by Boko Haram had led to enormous loss of life, destruction of educational infrastructure for children, and held up the economic future of the African continent. The violence was spreading to other parts of Nigeria and other African countries. This terrorist group represented a genuine threat to regional peace and security and that was why a robust regional and international effort was needed to put a definitive end to the terror and despair caused by Boko Haram.

Italy shared the strong concerns about the situation in Nigeria and its neighbours and said that this dangerous terrorist group was responsible for conducting inhumane acts, including killing, abduction, rape, recruitment of children and others. Italy praised the efforts by the countries in the region and the Multinational Joint Task Force and believed that the region could overcome such severe challenges through a comprehensive and coordinated approach as underlined by the United Nations Integrated Regional Strategy for the Sahel.

Djibouti noted that the Heads of State of the African Union had decided to establish a Multinational Joint Task Force to combat Boko Haram because they were aware of their obligation to protect their citizens against terrorist threats, and to bring the perpetrators of terrorist acts to justice. It was extremely important for the Council had taken up this issue because terrorism had a grave effect on the enjoyment of human rights. The involvement of minors in the armed conflict was particularly worrying.

Uruguay thanked the African Group for having called the Special Session and expressed its support for the Government and people of Nigeria and neighbouring countries which suffered from violence. The strategy of terror, unusual brutality and cruelty constituted a threat to the stability of the region and security of the population, and it merited a firm condemnation by the international community. Uruguay noted that no atrocity should go unpunished.

Senegal called for vigorous and effective action of the entire international community in order to eliminate Boko Haram, including support for the efforts of the Multinational Task Force established by the African Union. All available financial and technical resources should be devoted to that end. Senegal welcomed the adoption of the draft resolution, which would send a strong signal of solidarity to the affected population.

Burundi welcomed the organization of this Special Session, driven by collective concern over the atrocities committed by Boko Haram, and the collective determination to denounce and eliminate human rights violations by Boko Haram. Burundi invited Member States of the Human Rights Council to adopt the draft resolution by consensus.

Spain reiterated that terrorism could never be used as an excuse by States to violate the human rights of all persons in their territory or jurisdiction. Spain expressed its support for Nigeria and other countries in the region which fought terrorism and recalled the ultimate responsibility of States to respect human rights in their fight against terrorism. Spain supported the role of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in documenting the barbaric violations of human rights by Boko Haram.

Jordan condemned all terrorist activities and reiterated solidarity with the international community to address Boko Haram, extremism and radical violence. Terrorism in all its forms must be combatted and the international community should strengthen the coordination efforts to combat the phenomenon and its root causes. There was a need to combat ideologies which targeted Islam and its message of peace.

Philippines expressed appreciation to the African Group for the initiative to discuss and show the resolve of the Human Rights Council in condemning the human rights violations committed by Boko Haram and its affiliated groups. The Philippines strongly condemned terrorism in all its forms and affirmed its commitment to democracy, the rule of law, peace and international security, and the promotion and protection of human rights. It called on the international community to work together to fight terrorism.

Mauritania noted that terrorism threatened peace and security in several regions in the world. The Special Session was taking place in the context of worsening security challenges. Such a context required more international coordination and cooperation in order to stop criminal bands. Insecurity would remain a threat for all in today’s globalized world, which required an approach based on regional and international cooperation.

Somalia expressed gratitude for the tribute that Member States’ delegations had given to the late Ambassador Yusuf Bari-Bari. It was stressed that the Government of Somalia would continue the work of Ambassador Bari-Bari towards the protection and promotion of human rights.

Human Rights Watch said that at least 3,750 civilians had died during Boko Haram’s attacks in northern Nigeria in 2014, while reported attacks had increased in the first quarter of 2015, with more than 1,000 civilians killed. Boko Haram deliberately targeted villages and committed mass killings and abductions as their attacks spread into Cameroon, Chad and Niger since February. Human Rights Watch had documented human rights violations by Nigerian security forces as they responded to attacks by Boko Haram.

Caritas Internationalis said that last year over one million Nigerians had fled due to Boko Haram attacks. The underlying causes of terrorism must be addressed, including socio-economic factors and bad governance. The international community should allocate funds to respond to the humanitarian needs of internally displaced persons and refugees, and close all sources of financing of this terrorist group.

International Federation for Human Rights Leagues (FIDH) said that in the light of the widespread and systematic nature of attacks, the acts by Boko Haram constituted war crimes and crimes against humanity. The Human Rights Council should adopt the resolution and ask the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to carry out a comprehensive investigation of human rights violations and abuses and ensure that the perpetrators did not go unpunished.

Organisation pour la Communication en Afrique et de Promotion de la Cooperation Economique Internationale noted that it was the responsibility of the State to protect its people in peace and war. Accordingly, massacres perpetrated against civilian populations and abductions of girls, women and children by Boko Haram terrorists raised grave concerns. Those terrorist acts jeopardized all human rights and fundamental freedoms. Africa had not seen a single year without civil war. Such problems stemmed from longstanding colonial rule, which had resulted in ethnic problems, racial discrimination, pandemics and poverty.

Rencontre Africaine pour la defense des droits de l’homme said that the emergence of Boko Haram was due to political and economic weakness. It also had to be noted that the actions of the Nigerian military contributed to the hostility of civil populations who did not cooperate with the authorities. Such interplay between Boko Haram and the Nigerian security forces had exacerbated the spread of extreme violence and its export to neighbouring countries.

Amnesty International noted that the situation in Nigeria demonstrated a cycle of violence in which human rights abuses and violations by the armed group Boko Haram and the Nigerian security forces all too often fed further violations and abuses. That cycle had to be broken. The Government of Nigeria had to take prompt and effective steps to investigate and hold accountable perpetrators of serious crimes on all sides.

Tchad Agir pour le Developpément said that Boko Haram had slaughtered several thousand civilians and burned down scores of villages, forcing the civilians to flee. Chad was facing a colossal budgetary deficit because of the mass arrival of refugees in the north and west of the country.

United Nations Watch said it had been more than five years that Boko Haram had been on the rampage and asked why the United Nations had taken so long to respond. The Council had remained silent on the attack on United Nations headquarters in Abuja in which 23 had been killed, and at the suicide bombing of the mosque in Borno. When would the Council take action for the innocent victims of Boko Haram?

Union of Arab Jurists called upon States to respect the United Nations resolutions on terrorism and to respect their human rights obligations. The perpetrators of the atrocities by Boko Haram must be prosecuted.

Indian Council of South America expressed condolences to the family of Ambassador Yusuf Bari-Bari and to the people of Somalia. The Human Rights Council had to address the grave acts and terrorism perpetrated by Boko Haram. The affected countries needed to be supported not only by States, but by the international community and non-governmental organizations.

International Movement Against all Forms of Discrimination and Racism, in a joint statement regretted that little progress had been made to fight against terrorist attacks and human rights violations committed by Boko Haram. It called upon the Government of Nigeria to redouble its efforts against Boko Haram in a renewed environment after the recent presidential elections. It also urged the Council to fully support Nigeria to restore peace and religious harmony.

Action on the Resolution on Atrocities Committed by the Terrorist Group Boko Haram and its Effects on Human Rights in the Affected Countries

In a resolution (A/HRC/S-23/L.2)on atrocities committed by the terrorist group Boko Haram and its effects on human rights in the affected countries, adopted without a vote as revised, the Council expresses deep concern about the large number of displaced persons and refugees within Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Benin, and condemns in the strongest terms the gross abuses of international human rights law and violations of international humanitarian law perpetrated by Boko Haram. The Council calls upon those who provide support and resources to Boko Haram to put an immediate end to any such support that is contrary to international human rights law, and calls 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 calls 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, are held accountable; urges States to protect human rights while fighting terrorism; and requests 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, and to provide an oral update, as part of an interactive dialogue, to be held at the twenty-ninth session of the Human Rights Council and to submit a report for its consideration at its thirtieth session.

Algeria, speaking on behalf of the African Group, introduced resolution S-23/L.1 and thanked all the countries that co-sponsored it and that took part in the consultations. The draft resolution reflected the concerns of the African Group and the international community about the challenges posed by terrorism. In its operative part, the resolution highlighted appeals and recommendations to firmly condemn Boko Haram’s atrocities, and to enhance cooperation with African countries in their fight against terrorism. The draft resolution called on members of Boko Haram to be brought to justice, and asked the High Commissioner for Human Rights to draft a report on the committed human rights violations in the region and to present it at the next session of the Human Rights Council.

Latvia, in a general comment on behalf of the European Union, expressed sincere solidarity with the victims of Boko Haram. The provision of assistance to the multinational task forces established by the African Union would better be discussed in other fora. States held the primary responsibility in the protection of human rights. The military operations conducted by the multinational task forces had to comply with international human rights law. The increased presence of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the ground was welcome. The European Union would join the consensus on the draft resolution.

United States, speaking in an explanation of the vote after the vote, thanked the African Group for leading the process and looked forward to the report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the violations that were being committed in the affected countries. The United States expressed concern about the inclusion of language that fell outside of the scope of the Council, such as the control of financial funds to terrorist organizations. The United States strongly condemned the violations being committed by Boko Haram, but said the principal role for Members of the Council was to hold each other accountable for human rights obligations.

Closing Remarks

JOACHIM RÜCKER, President of the Human Rights Council, said that the report of the Special Session was being finalized and would be soon posted on the intranet. The Council then adopted the report of the session ad referendum and closed the twenty-third Special Session.
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For use of the information media; not an official record