UN Security Council condemns Boko Haram attacks News
UN Security Council condemns Boko Haram attacks

[JURIST] The UN Security Council [official website] on Monday condemned [statement] attacks by Islamist extremist group Boko Haram [BBC backgrounder] in Nigeria and called for an end to terrorist attacks and release of abducted child soldiers. The hostilities include mass killings, destruction of civilian homes and suicide bombings where children where induced [JURIST report] to carry out the attacks and act as suicide bombers earlier this month. The council recognized many such acts of Boko Haram may amount to crimes against humanity and that the group must be held accountable to international humanitarian law. On behalf of the council, Cristian Barros Melet [official credentials] of Chile stated:

The Security Council expresses its concern at the scale of the growing humanitarian crisis caused by the activities of Boko Haram, which has resulted in the large-scale displacement of Nigerians within the country and into neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger. The Security Council, in this regard, commends the support provided to the refugees by the Governments of the said countries, including with the assistance of humanitarian actors and relevant United Nations entities, and calls on the international community to provide its support in areas which require urgent attention.

The council acknowledged that Boko Haram’s actions undermine peace and stability in West and Central Africa, and a regional meeting was held Tuesday to discuss a response to terrorist threats.

Boko Haram [JURIST news archive], which means “Western education is a sin,” has been fighting to overthrow the Nigerian government in the interest of creating an Islamist state. Last year Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] reported [JURIST report] that Boko Haram had forced kidnapped women and girls to marry their captors and began using them for military tactical purposes. Boko Haram was criticized [JURIST report] in May by the UN after it claimed responsibility for kidnapping more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls in April and announced plans to sell and “marry them off.” US President Obama promised to send resources for investigatory purposes, sharply criticizing the perpetrators and calling Boko Haram “one of the worst regional or local terrorist organizations … in Nigeria.” However, Boko Haram’s actions have caused other extrinsic problems as well. In March Amnesty International released a report finding that some responses by Nigerian security forces to attacks by Boko Haram have themselves been in conflict with human rights standards [JURIST report]. Earlier in March former UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay called on [JURIST report] the Nigerian government to focus on protecting human rights and not to “exacerbate” violence in its response to attacks by Boko Haram. In August of 2013 the International Criminal Court expressed its finding [JURIST report] that there existed a “reasonable basis” to believe that Boko Haram was guilty of crimes against humanity.