Boko Haram remains a deadly threat in the region despite military advances

1 October 2015, 10:40 UTC | Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad
A wall painted by Boko Haram is pictured in Damasak. © REUTERS/Joe Penney
  • At least 1,600 civilians killed by Boko Haram in last 4 months
  • More than 3,500 civilians killed by Boko Haram in 2015
  • Nigeria yet to investigate military abuses 
  • Almost 400 civilians and dozens of security personnel killed by Boko Haram in Cameroon since January 2014

Despite advances by the military, attacks by Boko Haram in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger have claimed the lives of at least 1,600 people since the start of June, bringing the death toll to at least 3,500 civilians in 2015 alone, said Amnesty International as the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) discusses a UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ report on the conflict.   

“The number of people killed so far this year is truly shocking with more than 3,500 civilian fatalities in less than 300 days.”

Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International’s Africa Director for Research and Advocacy.

“The number of people killed so far this year is truly shocking with more than 3,500 civilian fatalities in less than 300 days,” said Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International’s Africa Director for Research and Advocacy.

“Governments in affected countries must take all necessary legal measures to ensure the security of civilians in affected areas.”

Today, as the UNHRC discusses violations and abuses committed in the context of the conflict, Amnesty International is renewing its call for adequate protection of civilians from Boko Haram attacks.

Amnesty International is also calling for urgent and thorough investigations of serious human rights violations committed by their security forces. Following the publication of an Amnesty International report on 3 June President Buhari pledged to investigate evidence that Nigerian military forces have committed serious human rights violations, war crimes and acts which may constitute crimes against humanity. To date, no investigation has begun.

“It is nearly four months to the day since President Buhari vowed to investigate the serious crimes under international law which Amnesty International highlighted in its report,” said Netsanet Belay.

“Thousands of victims are still waiting for justice. President Buhari and his new cabinet must take urgent action to rigorously investigate all crimes under international law committed by both Boko Haram and Nigerian security forces.”

Similarly, in Cameroon crimes under international law and human rights violations have been committed by both Boko Haram and the state security forces. Such crimes have not been investigated effectively. Amnesty International calls on the government of Cameroon to urgently initiate thorough, independent, impartial and transparent investigations into crimes under international law committed by all parties to the conflict in Cameroon. 

Background

Amnesty International’s analysis is based on testimonies of witnesses, victims and media reports.

In April 2015, Amnesty International published a report: 'Our job is to shoot, slaughter and kill': Boko Haram’s reign of terror in north east Nigeria which outlined the serious abuses committed by Boko Haram. 

In June 2015, Amnesty International published a report which revealed grievous human rights violations committed by the Nigerian military, Stars on their shoulders, blood on their hands. 

On 16 September Amnesty International published a report on abuses by Boko Haram in Cameroon and violations be state security forces, Human rights under fire: Attacks and violations in Cameroon's struggle with Boko Haram.

On 24 September, Amnesty International submitted a written statement to the 30th session of the UN Human Rights Council, which runs from 14 September until 2 October 2015 in Geneva, Switzerland. 

On 24 September, Amnesty International also published a public statement on the latest attacks by Boko Haram. 

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights presented a report to the 30th regular session of the UN Human Rights Council “on violations and abuses committed by Boko Haram and the impact on human rights in the affected countries” (UN index A/HRC/30/67),

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