The European Parliament,
– having regard to its previous resolutions on Nigeria, last one on April 29th 2015,
– having regard the plenary debate on the matter on Wednesday, 14 January 2015,
– having regard to the statements by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, including the statements of 8 January, 19 January, 31 March, 14 and 15 April 2015,
– having regard to the Council Conclusions of 9 February 2015,
– having regard to the Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purpose of money laundering and terrorist financing(1),
– having regard to the Resolution of the European Parliament on tax avoidance and tax evasion as challenges for governance, social protection and development in developing countries of July 2015,
– having regard to the fifth Nigeria-EU ministerial dialogue held in Abuja on 27 November 2014,
– having regard to the preliminary conclusions of the EU and EP Election Observation Missions,
– having regard to the regional conference on security held in Niamey on 20 January 2015;
– having regard to the statements made by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon,
– having regard to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals of September 2015,
– having regard to the statements by the High Commissioner of the United Nations for Human Rights on the possibility that members of Boko Haram could be accused of war crimes,
– having regard to the UN Declaration of 1981 on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief,
– having regard to the African Charter on Human Rights and Peoples of 1981, ratified by Nigeria on 22 June 1983,
– having regard to the International Covenant on Civil Rights of 1966, ratified by Nigeria on 29 October 1993,
– having regard to the Convention on the Rights of the Child ratified by Nigeria on 16th April 1991,
– having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948,
– having regard to Rule 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,
– having regard to Article 208 TFEU, which establishes taking into the principle of policy coherence for development in all European Union external policies,
– having regard to the Geneva Conventions,
– having regard to the convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and its Optional Protocol,
– having regard to the UN Security Council resolution 2122 and 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security,
A. whereas Nigeria is the most populous, ethnically diverse country in Africa marked by and a North-South division with severe economic and social disparities,
B. whereas Nigeria is the biggest economy in the African continent but despite its vast resources, Nigeria ranks among the most unequal countries in the world; Whereas the majority of the 148 million people in Nigeria live below the poverty line, while the country is the eighth largest oil producer;
C. whereas there are endemic problems in Nigeria from an economic point of view, due to the monopolization of resources by a minority and major responsibilities of the former colonial powers in the plunder of Nigeria; whereas this situation has led to decades of social and cultural divisions between indigenous groups for control of fertile farmlands and with migrants and settlers from the north of the country; whereas oil revenues have been steadily decreasing and an economic crisis is looming.
D. whereas fair and progressive tax regimes with welfare and social justice criteria provide vital finance to governments to cover citizens’ rights to basic public services, such as healthcare and education for all, and whereas effective redistributive fiscal policies are essential in decreasing the effect of growing inequalities by shaping the redistribution of wealth from higher income citizens to those most in need in a country;
E. whereas illicit financial flows (IFFs), i.e. all unrecorded private financial outflows involving capital that is illegally earned, transferred or utilised, typically originate from tax evasion activities, trade missinvoicing and abusive transfer pricing, against the principle that taxes should be paid where profits have been generated;
F. whereas social equality, education, literacy, women’s rights, social justice and a fair distribution of state revenues in society, reducing inequality and the fight against corruption are key for good governance and to fighting fundamentalism, violence and intolerance.
G. whereas throughout North East Nigeria and across the border regions in Cameroon, Chad and Niger, children are in critical danger. Insecurity caused by the conflict between the armed group ‘Islamic State’s in West Africa’, commonly known as ‘Boko Haram’, military forces and civilian self-defence groups in North East Nigeria has escalated into a worsening humanitarian crisis, with over 3.500 registered deaths as from January 2015.
H. whereas over 1.4 million children were forced to flee conflict and violence. In the past months, the total number of children on the run has increased by a further 500,000 across the region. In northern Nigeria alone, nearly 1.2 million children – over half of them under 5 years old – have had to leave their homes. An additional 265,000 children have been uprooted in Cameroon, Chad and Niger after their villages were attacked or threatened; whereas these children are at risk of being trapped in a cycle of violence being separated from their families, exposed to exploitation and recruited by armed groups. Many of among them have been killed, maimed and subjected to unimaginable atrocities.
I. whereas the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate with worsening food insecurity combined with poor access to education, safe drinking water and health services. In the most affected areas health centres have been destroyed. Many health workers have fled while others are not able to access those in need, leaving many families without health services, such as routine immunization, maternal and child care. Children are at risk of dying from diarrhoea, malaria or malnutrition.
J. whereas specifically young women and girls have been abducted by Boko Haram -at least 2,000 since the start of 2014, as reported recently by Amnesty International-, forced into sexual slavery, subjected to forced marriage, physical and psychological abuse, forced labour and rape.
K. whereas since the beginning of 2015 there has been an increase in the frequency and intensity of bombings in Northeast Nigeria. Women and girls are involved in approximately three-quarters of the attacks. Children are often used without knowing, to carry bombs that were strapped to their bodies and detonated remotely in public places, not only in Nigeria but also in neighbouring countries, in Chad and Cameroon.
L. whereas fear of attacks by Boko Haram has uprooted a half-million children in the past five months -as reported recently by UNICEF- raising a total number of children who have fled from Boko Haram militants in Nigeria and neighbouring countries to 1.4 million as reported by UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund.
M. whereas the spill over of Boko Haram insurgency in the neighbouring countries reveal the importance of greater regional cooperation; whereas Nigeria plays a key role in regional and African politics and is a driving force of the regional integration through ECOWAS.
N. whereas gender equality and women´s empowerment reminds a pending issue in Nigeria; further to last electoral processes in Nigeria, fewer women were elected than in the previous ones in 2011, which marked already a negative trend;
1. Strongly condemns the ongoing and increasing violence in Nigeria which has led to thousands of deaths and injuries and displaced hundreds of thousands of people and specifically hundreds of thousands of children. More than 17000 deaths and 2 million of displaced people over the last six years;
2. Deplores the massacre of innocent women, men and children, the rapes, the use of torture, the recruitment of child soldiers, and stands with the people of Nigeria in their determination to fight all forms of violence in their country;
3. Insists on the paramount importance of duly protecting children’s rights in a country with over a 40% of the total population between the ages 0 to 14.
4. Asks the President, Mr. Buhari to ensure respect for human rights for all its citizens; asks the government to protect its population and to address the root causes of violence aiming to ensure equal rights to all citizens and by addressing problems related to inequality, the control of fertile farmland, unemployment and poverty; asks the government to fight against corruption, poverty and inequality and promote social, political and economic reforms in order to create a free, democratic, fair, stable and secure State;
5. Reiterates its concern about the death penalty in Nigeria, further to confirming that in 2014 over 659 death sentences were reported by Amnesty International and urges for the abolition of the death penalty;
6. Calls the Nigerian government to adopt measures to starve Boko Haram of their sources of illegal income, through cooperation with neighbouring countries, in particular with regard to smuggling and trafficking while reminding actions undertaken against Boko Haram should not lead to further fuelling of the violence; in this regard, condemns the Nigerian military for using disproportionate force in its pursuit of Boko Haram; calls for a reform of the Nigerian state security forces, including police, ensuring their proper equipment and effective democratic oversight and conducting investigations against those who are responsible for any human rights violations including extrajudicial killings, torture, rapes, children abuses, arbitrary arrests, and extortion-related abuses;
7. Calls for an independent investigation to shed light on the different acts perpetrated by Boko Haram, and specify whether war crimes and crimes against humanity were committed;
8. Points out that increasing impoverishment of citizens, declining economic opportunities, increasing inequalities and limited educational opportunities have swelled the ranks of the unemployed, which in turn offers the socio-economic basis for Boko Haram’s development; notes also with concern that in many regions, the state offers no crucial public services for people such as water, sanitation, health or education; urges, under these circumstances, the Nigerian authorities to address the socio-economic basis for Boko Haram’s development and to fight against deteriorating living standards to reach social justice; asks the EU to use all its tools to promote these measures;
9. Believes that the peaceful resolution of disputes is only possible through respect for human rights, including the inalienable right of the people to dispose of itself and of its resources;
10. Emphasises the importance of an independent, impartial, accessible judiciary system for all citizens, to put an end to impunity, to enhance respect for rule of law and fundamental rights of the population; accordingly, calls for improving efficiency and independence of Nigeria’s judiciary system as a mean of effective use of criminal justice to combat terrorism;
11. Demands an international investigation under the auspices of the UN to determine the third country responsibilities in the organization and financing of terrorist groups in the region, and responsibility of multinationals and governments in the hoarding of wealth and deepening economic, social and cultural tensions;
12. Urges the international community to do more to help the Nigerian Government, in particular to secure the release of the Chibok girls abducted in April 2014;
13. Calls on the international community to also help the Nigerian forced migrants in neighbouring countries, calls the EU and it´s Member States to facilitate their access to European asylum and ensure human rights to all migrants;
14. Calls on the European Union and its Member States to fulfil their commitment to providing a comprehensive range of political, development and humanitarian effective support to Nigeria and its people. Urges that the provision of humanitarian aid by the EU and the Member States should not be subject to restrictions imposed by other stakeholders regarding necessary medical treatment, including access to safe abortion for women and girls who are victims of rape in armed conflicts, and should instead follow international humanitarian law;
15. Calls for a fair and redistributive tax system able to address the problematic of inequalities in the country, especially regarding natural resources revenues;
16. Urges the Commission to take concrete and effective measures to support tax administration frameworks in the fight against tax dodging, in developing fairer and progressive tax policies, in promoting administrative reforms and in order to increase the share, in terms of aid and development, of financial and technical assistance to the Nigeria national tax administrations;
17. Recalls the European Union and its Member States when negotiating tax treaties, shall comply with the principle of policy coherence for development established in Article 208 TFEU; The European Union shall take account of the objectives of development cooperation in the policies that it implements which are likely to affect developing countries such Nigeria.
18. Calls on the European Union and its Member States to take concrete measures to efficiently curve illicit financial flows, tax evasion and avoidance, and boost democratic international cooperation in tax matters by promoting an intergovernmental body on tax matters, to ensure a forum where all countries could participate on equal footing;
19. Reproves the Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Law, criminalizing LGTBI people; strongly condemns the severe criminalization of homosexuality in Nigeria, punishable with 7 years’ imprisonment (or death penalty in 12 states where Sharia law applies); Thus, calls for the abolition of this law as well as sections 214 and 217 of the Nigerian Penal Code. Calls the Nigerian Government to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment through boosting women and women rights organisations participation in public and political life; calls for a comprehensive EU approach on violence against women and girls with increased efforts and resources to prevent and eliminate all discriminatory practices against women as well as to combat and prosecute all forms of violence including trafficking in human beings, female genital mutilation, forced sterilisation, forced pregnancy, gendercide, domestic violence and marital rape, child, early and forced marriage and gender-based violence in conflict and post-conflict situations; calls for the development of specific EU actions to strengthen the rights of different groups of women, with a special attention to youth, migrants, women living with HIV, LGBTI persons and persons with disabilities;
20. Strongly calls for the Nigerian Government to protect the children and youth rights in line with the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda;
21. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the government and parliament of Nigeria, the Representatives of ECOWAS and the African Union;