18 August 2017

Nigeria: UN Calls On Parties in Conflict to Shield Civilians From Harm

Maiduguri — United Nations has called on all the parties in conflicts in Nigeria to desist from war crime by protecting civilians and preventing further pain and suffering on them.

Speaking at the Bakassi internally displaced persons camp in commemoration of the World Humanitarian Day thursday, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria, Edward Kallon, said there was need to respect the law guiding war.

He said: "UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has published his first report on the Protection of Civilians. He calls for enhanced respect for international humanitarian and human rights law, and protection of civilians, including humanitarian and medical workers, as well as civilian infrastructure. He also calls for the prevention of forced displacement, and durable solutions for refugees and internally displaced persons."

He lamented the increase in suicide bombings in the North-east, noting that this has led to many civilian casualties.

He said: "Here in the North-east of Nigeria, civilians continue to bear the brunt of the conflict. Women, men and children face grave human rights violations and sexual and gender-based violence.

"Since the start of the conflict in 2009 more than 20,000 people have been killed, thousands of women and girls have been abducted and children continue to be used on a regular basis as so-called "suicide" bombers."

He said: "Thousands of families have been forced to flee their villages, rather than build their homes, livelihoods and communities.

"At the same time, health and aid workers, who care for people affected by violence, are affected by the lack of security, which constrains our access to desperately vulnerable communities. People must be put first."

On the World Humanitarian Day which holds worldwide on Saturday, August 19, he said: "Every year World Humanitarian Day brings the world together to rally support for people affected by humanitarian crisis and pay tribute to aid workers who help them.

"This World Humanitarian Day in Nigeria we come together to reaffirm that civilians caught in conflict are #NotATarget.

We are particularly reminded of this by the series of terrorist attacks in Konduga, Borno State, on Tuesdayevening that killed 27 innocent civilians and wounded over 80 more.

"I condemn this attack and extend my deepest sympathies to the victims and their families. I also extend my condolences to the government and the people of Nigeria."

He said: "Action is being taken: global leaders made commitments to uphold the norms that safeguard humanity at the World Humanitarian Summit last year. However, much more must be done. I call upon all parties to the conflict in Nigeria to protect civilians and prevent further pain and suffering.

"I should also like to reiterate the United Nations solidarity and support to the Government of Nigeria in its fight against terrorism and violent extremism."


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