[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad al-Hussein [official profile] reported [press release] Wednesday that retreating Boko Haram [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] militants in Nigeria have been murdering woman and girls previously taken captive by the group. Before a special session of the UN Human Rights Council, the commissioner relayed reports “that Boko Haram fighters who were retreating from the advance of the joint forces murdered their so-called “wives”;in fact, women and girls held in slavery; and other captives as Government troops advanced.” The UN human rights chief called on international community to combat human rights abuses in the region, noting the importance of upholding “the values of democracy and human rights” in combating violent extremism. In addition to condemning the actions of Boko Haram, Zeid acknowledged allegations that security forces of Nigeria and coalition nations fighting Boko Haram have also perpetrated human rights violations against specific religious and ethnic groups.
A coalition of African nations has in recent months successfully combated Boko Haram militants in northern Nigeria. Last week Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] reported [JURIST report] that more than 1,000 civilians have been killed so far in 2015 at the hands of Boko Haram. In January the UN Security Council [official website] condemned [JURIST report] attacks by Boko Haram in Nigeria and called for an end to terrorist attacks and release of abducted child soldiers. Also in January Amnesty International [advocacy website] released satellite images [AI asset bank] that allegedly show the destruction of more than 3,700 buildings in the Nigerian towns of Baga and Doron Baga by Boko Haram militants.