UN commends Nigeria on Boko Haram, human rights

Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has congratulated the Government of Nigeria on conducting trials of Boko Haram suspects, and urged it to ensure due process and transparency by granting access to human rights observers.

The News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, reports that Guterres, who stated this in the Report of the Secretary-General on the activities of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel, also welcomed the establishment by Nigeria of a judicial commission to uphold compliance by its armed forces with national laws and international human rights standards.

He commended the efforts of the countries participating in the Multinational Joint Task Force, saying they have reduced the operational capacities and geographical reach of Boko Haram.

According to him, however, persistent attacks are hampering resettlement and rehabilitation efforts and provide a breeding ground for extremism.

“I reiterate my call for stronger partnership among the affected countries, as well as with regional organisations, including the African Union, and underscore the need for all counter-insurgency efforts to be carried out in full compliance with international humanitarian, human rights and refugee law.

“I reiterate my call upon the international community to increase its political, humanitarian, early recovery, logistical and financial assistance to the affected countries and to the Task Force and the Lake Chad Basin Commission.

“I encourage countries of the Lake Chad basin to continue their efforts to reintegrate Boko Haram victims and other categories of individuals associated with Boko Haram, and urge the international community to assist them in that endeavour.

“I reiterate my call for a regional strategy for addressing the root causes of the crisis in the basin. In that regard, I welcome the holding of the first regional stabilisation conference in the basin region and hope that the conference will be the first step towards the development of such a strategy.”

Guterres urged national authorities not to relent in their efforts to provide critical humanitarian assistance to vulnerable communities and to advocate the disbursement of outstanding funds pledged at the Oslo Humanitarian Conference for Nigeria and the Lake Chad Region, held in February 2017.

He welcomed the support that regional and international partners continued to provide to the countries and people of the Sahel and urged them to join their efforts and increase their contributions in line with the growing needs in the region and in alignment with national and regional priorities.

According to him, it is important to ensure that all efforts are well coordinated and complementary, stressing the challenges in the Sahel are complex and multidimensional and require a sustained and holistic approach.

He welcomed the collegial efforts made by the entire UN system under the leadership of the Deputy Secretary-General, Ms Amina Mohammed towards recalibrating the UN integrated strategy for the Sahel and further boosting its implementation through a more integrated, cross-pillar approach.

“These efforts will contribute to mobilising additional resources for the Sahel and ensure that adequate support is provided and that the aid of the international community is well coordinated, complementary and in support of the countries of the Sahel.

“I urge the international community to complement the security and military response to the Sahel crisis with development programmes to address the root causes of conflict, prevent tensions and violence, tackle exclusion and poverty, strengthen the resilience of institutions and communities and build peaceful and inclusive societies.”