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Amnesty Int’l insists Nigeria’s military must account for several cases of rights abuse

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AMNESTY Internationa, a global human rights organisation, has maintained that the Nigerian military must be held accountable for the several cases of gross human rights abuse on women and girls in Internally Displaced Persons’ Camps across the country.

This was made known in a statement issued by the groups media manager in Nigeria, Isa Sanusi, while reacting to the adoption of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) outcome on Nigeria by the United Nations Human Rights Council.

AI said it welcomes Nigeria’s cooperation with the review process and the country’s positive response to some of the recommendations made by other states in the UPR Working Group.

However, the group said it remains “deeply concerned about pervasive violence against women, including rape of women and girls in internally displaced persons camps, as well as sexual violence against female detainees by police, sometimes in order to extract confessions”.

“These violations have continued, despite the passage of the Violence against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act in 2015,” the statement read in part.

“While welcoming Nigeria’s acceptance of recommendations to intensify efforts to combat gender-based violence, the organization urges the government to ensure that victims throughout the Federation can seek legal redress for gender-based violations, in line with the provisions of the VAPP.”

AI noted that since the beginning of the Boko Haram insurgency in the North East of Nigeria in 2009, the group has documented “war crimes and other human rights abuses by Boko Haram and serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law by the security forces, including arbitrary arrests, torture, enforced disappearances, unlawful killings and extrajudicial executions”.

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“Amnesty International welcomes Nigeria’s acceptance of recommendations to conduct prompt, thorough and independent investigations into allegations of violations by government forces during counter-insurgency operations.

“However, the organization remains concerned by the lack of accountability for crimes committed by Boko Haram, as well as by government forces in the fight against Boko Haram, and call on the government to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice in fair trials.

“Several states called on Nigeria to strengthen the protection of the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly. In order to promote these rights, Amnesty International recently launched a campaign on freedom of expression in Nigeria, calling on the government to ensure that journalists and other media professionals can operate without fear of arrests or other reprisals.”

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