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UN rights experts urge Nigeria to ensure safety of liberated areas

[JURIST] UN human rights experts urged [press release] the Nigerian government Friday to guarantee the safety of areas liberated from Boko Haram. The UN experts expressed concern for the safety of internally displaced persons (IDPs) returning home to these areas after a series of vicious Boko Haram attacks. Boko Haram recently raided an IDP settlement and killed more than 90 individuals, primarily women and children. On Tuesday, there was another attack killing more than 50 and injuring others. Child rights expert Benyam Dawit Mezmur said:

The Nigerian authorities are legally obliged under international human rights law, in particular under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which it has ratified, to take all necessary steps to respect, protect and fulfil the right to life of children, as well as ensuring their right to safety and security which among others, entails protecting them from violence, intimidation, sexual abuse and slavery.
The experts urged authorities to hold rights violators accountable.

The militant Islamic group Boko Haram [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive], whose name means "Western education is a sin," has been fighting to overthrow the Nigerian government in the interest of creating an Islamist state. In November the UN Secretary-General condemned [JURIST report] yet another attack by Boko Haram in Nigeria that left 30 dead and approximately 80 injured. In April UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad al-Hussein [official profile] reported [JURIST report] that Boko Haram militants in Nigeria have been murdering women and girls previously taken captive by the group. The group has been increasing the intensity and frequency of its attacks [JURIST report] ever since it lost most of the territory it overtook earlier this year to the Nigerian army. Most of these attacks have centered around markets, bus stations, places of worship and hit-and-run attacks on villages.

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