Organisation: Christian Solidarity Worldwide
UN Human Rights Council, 37th Session (26 February – 23 March 2018)
Agenda Item 4: General debate
Speaker: Claire Denman
Thank you Mr President.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide would like to take this opportunity to bring the human rights situation in northern Nigeria to the council’s attention.
While Nigeria’s federal constitution protects the rights of all citizens, regardless of religion, gender, ethnicity and other differences, these rights are often denied to religious minorities in northern and central states. In particular, CSW calls on the government of Nigeria to ensure that laws and practices in the 12 Shari’a states are brought into line with the constitution, and to address the prevalent abduction, forcible conversion and forced marriage of underage non-Muslim girls in these states.
CSW remains concerned by the steep rise in attacks by Fulani herder militia on villages in central Nigeria. Given the close correlation between ethnicity and religion, the term “herder-farmer clashes” has been rendered obsolete by violence of such orchestration and asymmetry that it can be described legitimately as ethno-religious cleansing.
The situation is exacerbated by inadequate action by the federal government, which controls the nation’s security organs. Recent incidents in Plateau and Adamawa raise the concerning potential of security force elements being complicit in some of this violence.
No attacker has been arrested, let alone brought to justice. Impunity is entrenched and perpetrators emboldened.
CSW calls on the government to do all it can to end violence by both Boko Haram and the Fulani militia, and to protect all its citizens. CSW further urges the government to address ethno-religious discrimination and persecution by state and non-state actors decisively, so as to send a clear message that targeting of minority communities will not be tolerated, and to end the impunity surrounding these crimes.