19 March 2018

Nigeria: United Nations Urged to Declare Herdsmen Attacks Terrorist Acts

The United Nation Security Council has been urged to treat the atrocities by herdsmen as terrorist acts, in line with the UN Security Council resolution 2349 (2017), which addresses Boko Haram's presence in the Lake Chad Basin and calls on all states to combat all forms and manifestations of terrorism.

The call was contained in an open letter sent to the Council by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP).

In the letter signed by its deputy director, Timothy Adewale, and made available to The Guardian yesterday, the group asked the UN Security Council and its members to urgently hold a special session on Nigeria and to visit the country to press the authorities to end continuing killings and destruction of property by suspected herdsmen across Nigeria, particularly in the North-Central of the country.

"Declaring attacks by herdsmen as terrorist acts, SERAP said, would help spur the authorities to seriously address the threats posed by herdsmen and combat the crimes against humanity being committed against Nigerians."

The organisation expressed, "serious concern that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is failing to uphold its responsibility to protect the citizens from increasing atrocities by the herdsmen, which if not urgently addressed would pose serious threat to regional peace and security, and by extension, international peace and security."

According to the group, The Security Council must act now to protect Nigerians, including women and children, if the Council is not to be accused of failing the people of Nigeria."

The organization said: "The attacks by herdsmen have uprooted families, destroyed communities' socio-economic activities, and taken away their livelihoods and common heritage. These attacks undermine the very purposes and principles of the UN Charter. If not urgently combatted, such attacks may rise to the level of threat to international peace and security. SERAP notes that the first 'purpose' listed for the UN is to maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace."

The letter read in part: "SERAP urges the Security Council and its members to publicly condemn these terrorist attacks, express concern about the protection of Nigerians and communities affected by the violations of international humanitarian and human rights law and press the authorities to put in place special mechanisms for bringing those suspected to be responsible to justice, and victims to receive redress, including adequate compensation and guarantee of non-repetition."

Nigeria

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