Nigeria: Stop Justifying Rights Abuses, Amnesty Tells Nigerian, U.S. Govts

Shiites protesting release of their leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.
3 November 2018

In response to the Nigerian Army's tweets using President Donald Trump's words to justify the fatal shooting of stone-throwing protesters and the subsequent issuing of a statement denouncing Amnesty International's calls for accountability, the organisation has asked the two governments to stop justifying rights abuses.

Amnesty's Nigeria Executive Director, Osai Ojigho, on Saturday in a statement said the basic rights of humans are not subject to the whims and caprices of leaders.

"Basic human rights are not subject to whims of the world's leaders. Rather than engaging in a preposterous competition over who does a better job of violating human rights, the Nigerian government must hold its security forces accountable for the horrific killing of at least 45 peaceful protesters."

Akso, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA, Margaret Huang said:

"Donald Trump's latest statements continue a pattern threatening, encouraging and justifying human rights abuses. No president should be embracing the horrific use of excessive force. The president's outrageous threats against people fleeing violence and seeking a better life only compound their already precarious situation and exacerbate what he should be recognising as a human rights crisis.

"Both the US and the Nigerian governments must abide by international human rights law and standards. International law is clear that security forces policing demonstrations must not use unnecessary or excessive force against protesters unless they pose an imminent threat of death or serious injury, and only if there is no lesser way to avert such threat. They must never use firearms as a tactical tool for the management of demonstrations: they may only be used for the purpose of saving another life."

In a statement responding to Mr Trump's remarks, Amnesty International's Secretary General Kumi Naidoo had earlier said: "We reject these vicious policies. People seeking protection deserve our compassion, not our contempt. Threatening desperate people with excessive force is horrifying and unlawful. The U.S. government must abide by international law and welcome people seeking safety into the country while their asylum claims are being reviewed."

An investigation conducted by Amnesty International this week and another one by PREMIUM TIMES had shown that the horrific use of excessive force by soldiers and police led to the killing of at least 45 supporters of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) as the Shi'a Muslim group held a peaceful religious procession around Abuja.

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