Women’s Participation in Exercising Political Power Cannot Be Disputed, Says General Assembly President, Opening High-Level Event

When women work to rise to the top, whether in politics, business or community advocacy, they face resistance, discrimination, social stereotypes and double standards, the President of the General Assembly said today as she opened a high-level event on…

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Daily Press Briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General.**ItalyA short while ago in Rome, the Secretary-General delivered the opening remarks at the Ministerial meeting of the Inter…

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Motion for a resolution on Central African Republic – B8-2017-0085

The European Parliament,

having regard to its previous resolutions on the Central African Republic (CAR),

having regard to the ACP-EU JPA resolution on the situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) of 19 June 2013, 19 March 2014 and of 17 June 2015,

having regard to the Statements by the High Representative on the situation in Central African Republic, notably of 13 October 2014,

having regard to the statement of the EEAS spokesperson of 6 January 2017 on the attacks in the Central African Republic,

having regard to the report of 11 January 2017of Amnesty International “The long wait for Justice: accountability in Central African Republic”;   

having regard to the Brussels Conference for the Central African Republic of November 17th 2016;

having regard to the Cotonou Agreement,

A. whereas despite some progress and successful elections, the Central African Republic (CAR) has remained in the hands of armed groups, continuing the civil conflict between the mainly Muslim Séléka rebel coalition and anti-Balaka militia, that started in 2013 and affected millions of people;

B. whereas armed groups allegedly manipulated by politicians who are against the government. have perpetuated the violence of the last months,

C. whereas eleven out of the 13 armed groups are in talks with government and United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) trying to elaborate a sound and fair peace dialogue, but there are others who are still creating instability in the country;

D. whereas since the beginning of 2017 three UN peace keepers have been killed in two different attacks in the country in the north-west and east of the country;

E. whereas according to Vladimir Monteiro, MINUSCA’s spokesman in Bangui such attacks are not only on UN peacekeepers, but also target humanitarian actors and the civilian population.

F. whereas new clashes and renewed deadly violence in the country forced more than 20,000 people to flee to a UN base to get protection from violence last September 2016;

G. whereas tensions in the town of Kaga Bandero, in northern CAR, have forced humanitarian workers to suspend relief efforts in the area, leaving thousands vulnerable including children and women;

H. whereas the suspension of some humanitarian activities because of security concerns affected affect 120,000 food insecure people and 35,000 others living precariously in surrounding camps for internally displaced people;

I. whereas thousands of victims of human rights abuses are still waiting for justice to be served, while individuals who have committed horrific crimes like murder and rape enjoy impunity and roam free.

J. whereas  targeting peacekeepers as well as any other violent activity against the humanitarian organisations and the civil population is a war crime according to the ICC Statute of Rome;

K. whereas the February 2015 election with the appointment of President Faustin Touadera was seen as a step toward reconciliation, but impunity and a continued lack of justice had contributed to an increase of the violent clashes of the recent months;

L. whereas as confirmed by the Brussels Conference for the Central African Republic, the CAR Government urgently needs to implement a plan for rebuilding and consolidating peace, disarming, demobilising and reintegration of armed groups, and by combating impunity.

M. whereas the financial effort to rebuilt the country is estimated at 6 billion USD for next three years;

N. whereas the respect for human rights is a mandatory essential element of the international agreements approved by CAR, including the Cotonou agreement;

O. whereas the illegal trade in rough diamonds through border towns of Gbitti, Kentzou and Garoua-Boulai in eastern Cameroon provides a steady source of income for rebel groups on both sides of the Central African Republic’s bloody conflict;

P. Whereas according to the Kimberley Process certification scheme, the Central African Republic should not be able to trade its diamonds however rough diamonds certification rules are lax and it seems that there are Kimberley Process officials, who will certify – for the right price – that gems from across the border are conflict free, whatever their origin.

1. Reiterates its deep concern over the situation in the Central African Republic, where the ghosts of an horrific civil war are strongly coming back;

2. deplores the abandon of humanitarian activities, the loss of lives and expresses its condolences to the families of the three UN peacekeepers and to all the victims of the last months’ violence and to the whole people of Central African Republic;

3. Strongly condemns the attacks against the UN peacekeepers in humanitarian organizations and residences during the latest outbreak of violence;

4. Reiterates its call on CAR’s authorities to focus on fighting against impunity and the re-establishment of rule of law,

5. Calls on international community to provide sufficient financial assistance to fully fund the plan to support the CAR National Recovery and Peacebuilding Plan 2017-2021.

6. Supports the political process in CAR at this critical time and enhance common efforts to facilitate political dialogue, build trust and ensure peaceful co-existence between religious communities in the country; urges CAR’s government to make the reconstruction of the education system a priority, in order to facilitate long term pacific coexistence

7. Urges the CAR diamond traders to prove due diligence and the international diamond companies to address Kimberly Process failures in the diamond supply chain from the CAR; calls on the CAR authorities and foreign companies to help strengthen governance in the extractives sector by abiding to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative;

8. Calls on neighbouring countries and in particular on Cameroon authorities to check origin of diamonds certified in its own borders and avoid trading illicitly extracted in CAR;

9. Calls to the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights and MINUSCA to monitor, investigate and publicly report on allegations of abuses and crimes under international law by all sides in the conflict, ensuring that human rights monitors are deployed in adequate numbers, both in Bangui and in the provinces.

10. Calls to the To the UN Security Council to continually assess the capacity of MINUSCA of delivering its mandate which notably includes the disarmament and demobilisation of fighters; Invites the UN authorities to clarify open issues concerning the contracts with BADICA, a company on UN sanctions list for allegedly fuelling the conflict in Central African Republic through the sale of ‘blood diamonds’,

11. Calls on World Bank, the United Nations and the European Union to help the CAR authorities in developing a consensus on needs and priorities for the next five years requested the support from the prepare a joint Recovery and Peace Building Assessment.

12. Calls to MINUSCA and CAR authorities to ensure allegations of serious crimes committed by members of armed groups and militias in CAR are promptly and independently investigated and those reasonably suspected of being responsible for these crimes are tried in proceedings that fully respect international fair trial standards with no recourse to the death penalty;

13. Calls to CAR authorities:

a. to arrest suspected perpetrators of human rights violations to refrain from appointing individuals suspected of human rights abuses and crimes under international law to public positions as civil servants or military;

b. Make any necessary revision to national criminal legislation to ensure that it conforms with international standards, and in particular, revise the definitions of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in the Criminal Code.

c. to rebuild the national justice system;

d. To ensure that the offices of the prosecutors, the investigative judges, as well as justice members of the national gendarmerie in charge of investigating crimes, are equipped with means of communication, security and mobility they need, and provided with physical protection.;

e. Give higher priority to the justice sector in the allocation of state resources so it can function effectively.

14. Calls to CAR authorities, MINUSCA and UNDP to set up the Special Criminal Court as soon as possible appointing international and national judges and staff, ensuring that the selection process is independent, transparent, and merit-based.

15. Calls to the ICC to investigate with a view to prosecuting crimes committed by all parties to the conflict on the basis of the same objective criteria, to issue arrest warrants for suspected high-level perpetrators from all sides to the conflict

16. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Government authorities of CAR, Council, the Commission, HR/VP Federica Mogherini, the UN Security Council, the UN Secretary General, the institutions of the African Union, The republic of Cameroon, , the ACP-EU Parliamentary Assembly and the EU Member States.

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Joint Communication by HRVP Federica Mogherini, EU Commissioner Neven Mimica and AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, Smail

We have signed today an agreement on €50 million support from the EU’s “African Peace Facility” to the Lake Chad Basin Commission Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) in its fight against Boko Haram, as mandated by the African Union Peace and Security Council. This agreement comes at a time of renewed efforts by the member countries of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) and Benin to eliminate the threat posed by the Boko Haram terrorist group and create conditions for the rehabilitation of the affected areas and people.

We commend the countries of the region for the progress made over the past months in ensuring a coordinated regional response through the MNJTF . The agreement we have signed today will further strengthen the regional coordination of the response.

Our support will allow for the construction and maintenance of MNJTF headquarters in Ndjamena as well as of sector Headquarters in Cameroon and Niger. We will also provide transport and communication assets to the force headquarters, allowing for effective coordination and command of military operations. These assets, including vehicles, aerial transportation and reconnaissance capacities and a command, control, communication and information system, will put the central command in a position to co-ordinate operations among troop contributing countries in their respective territories. The scope is to prevent Boko Haram’s ability to move across borders when fighting uncoordinated bilateral operations.

We reiterate our strong mutual engagement to contribute to restore a safe and secure environment to the civilian population in the areas affected by Boko Haram and other terrorist groups. Boko Haram attacks against the population have severely affected the North-east of Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger. More than 13,000 have been killed, 2.5 million people have been internally displaced, and an estimated 250 000 people fled to neighboring countries. The escalation of violence has disrupted regional agricultural production and unsettled local markets, causing increasing malnutrition.

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Text adopted – The mass displacement of children in Nigeria as a result of Boko Haram attacks – P8_TA-PROV(2015)0344 – Thursday, 8 October 2015 – Strasbourg – Provisional edition

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Nigeria, in particular to those of 17 July 2014(1) and 30 April 2015(2) ,

–  having regard to previous statements by the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, including those of 8 January, 19 January, 31 March, 14 and 15 April, and 3 July 2015,

–  having regard to the statement by the President of the Security Council of the UN on 28 July 2015,

–  having regard to President Muhammadu Buhari’s address to the UN General Assembly of 28 September 2015, and to the UN counter-terrorism summit,

–  having regard to the Cotonou Agreement,

–  having regard to UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, adopted on 31 October 2000,

–  having regard to the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Organization of African Unity (OAU) Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (1990),

–  having regard to the 2003 Child Rights Act signed into law by the Federal Government of Nigeria,

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948,

–  having regard to the African Union Convention on the prevention and fight against terrorism, ratified by Nigeria on 16 May 2003, and the Additional Protocol, ratified by Nigeria on 22 December 2008,

–  having regard to the EU Emergency Trust Fund for stability and addressing root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa,

–  having regard to the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on violations and abuses committed by Boko Haram and the impact on human rights in the affected countries of 29 September 2015; having regard to the statements by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights regarding the possibility that members of Boko Haram could be accused of war crimes,

–  having regard to Rules 135(5) and 123(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas Nigeria, the most populous and largest economy in Africa, which is ethnically diverse and marked by regional and religious cleavages and a North-South divide with severe economic and social inequalities, has since 2009 become the battlefield of the Boko Haram Islamic terrorist group with its sworn allegiance to Da’esh; whereas the terrorist group has become a growing threat to the stability of Nigeria and the West African region; whereas the Nigerian security forces have often used excessive force and committed abuses during military operations to counter the insurgency;

B.  whereas at least 1 600 civilians have been killed by Boko Haram in the last four months, raising the death toll to at least 3 500 civilians in 2015 alone;

C.  whereas since the emergence of the Boko Haram insurgency its targeted actions against schoolboys and schoolgirls in the area have deprived children of access to education, with the figure of 10,5 million children of primary school age in Nigeria not attending school being the highest in the world, according to UNESCO figures; whereas, like al-Shabaab in Somalia, AQIM, MUJAO and Ansar Dine in North Mali and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Boko Haram targets children and women who receive an education;

D.  whereas despite advances by Nigerian and regional armed forces, increasing attacks and suicide bombings extending beyond the border into neighbouring countries threaten stability and the livelihood of millions of people throughout the entire region; whereas children are in critical danger on account of the deteriorating humanitarian situation, with worsening food insecurity combined with poor access to education, safe drinking water and health services;

E.  whereas the UN estimates that the violence in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states has recently resulted in the number of internally displaced people increasing dramatically to 2,1 million, 58 % of whom are children, according to IOM; whereas more than 3 million people have been affected by the insurgency as a whole, and 5,5 million are in need of humanitarian assistance in the Lake Chad Basin;

F.  whereas Nigeria has succeeded in conducting mostly peaceful presidential and gubernatorial elections despite the threats made by Boko Haram to disrupt the ballot; whereas Nigeria and its neighbouring countries created a Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) on 11 June 2015 in Abuja to comply with the decisions taken in Niamey in January 2015 on fighting Boko Haram;

G.  whereas Boko Haram has abducted more than 2 000 women and girls in Nigeria since 2009, including the kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls from Chibok in the north-east of the country on 14 April 2014, an act which shocked the whole world and triggered an international campaign (‘Bring back our Girls’) to rescue them; whereas almost a year and half later, more than 200 of the girls captured in that incident have still not been found;

H.  whereas many more children have since gone missing, or have been abducted or recruited to serve as fighters and house workers, with girls being subjected to rape and forced marriage or forced to convert to Islam; whereas since April 2015 some 300 other girls rescued by the Nigerian security forces from terrorist strongholds and around 60 others who managed to escape their captors from another location have described their life in captivity to Human Rights Watch (HRW) as being one of daily violence and terror, plus physical and psychological abuses; whereas, according to the UNSR for Children and Armed Conflict, the armed conflict in north-eastern Nigeria this past year was one of the world’s deadliest for children, with killings, the growing recruitment and use of children, countless abductions and sexual violence against girls; whereas UNICEF says that more than 23 000 children have been separated from their parents and forced from their home by the violence, running to save their lives inside Nigeria or crossing the border to Cameroon, Chad and Niger;

I.  whereas most of the children living in IDP and refugee camps have lost one or both parents (either killed or missing), as well as siblings and other relatives; whereas, although a number of international and national humanitarian organisations are operating in the camps, access to basic rights for many of these children – including nutrition, shelter (overcrowded and unsanitary), health and education – remains of abysmally low quality;

J.  whereas there are at least 208 000 children without access to education and 83 000 lack access to safe water in the sub-region (Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger), and 23 000 children in the north-east of Nigeria have been separated from their families;

K.  whereas the number of attacks by Boko Haram has risen in Nigeria, as well as in neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger; whereas Boko Haram continues to abduct children and women to carry explosive devices, using them, without their knowledge, as suicide bombers; whereas some of those who had sought refuge on the Chadian side of Lake Chad were again targeted by the same terrorists on Chadian soil;

L.  whereas in June 2015 the EU provided EUR 21 million in humanitarian aid to help displaced people in Nigeria and neighbouring countries affected by the violence of terrorist organisations;

M.  whereas UNICEF, together with governments and partners in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger, is increasing its operations to assist thousands of children and their families in the region by providing access to safe water, education, counselling and psychological support, as well as vaccinations and treatment for severe acute malnutrition; whereas UNICEF has received only 32 % of the 50,3 million required this year for its humanitarian response across the Lake Chad region;

N.  whereas a number of the abducted women and girls who have escaped or have been rescued or freed return home pregnant and in dire need of reproductive and maternal health care, and others lack access to basic post-rape health screening, post-traumatic care, social support and rape counselling, according to HRW; whereas the Commission has stated that where pregnancy causes unbearable suffering women must have access to the full range of sexual and reproductive health services based on their medical condition, therefore asserting that international humanitarian law shall in any case prevail;

1.  Strongly condemns Boko Haram crimes, including terrorist raids and suicide bombings in Chad, Cameroon and Niger; stands with the victims and conveys its condolences to all families who have lost loved ones; denounces the ongoing relentless violence in the Nigerian Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states and other cities in the country;

2.  Deplores the acts which have led to the mass displacement of innocent children and calls for immediate coordinated international action to assist the work of UN agencies and NGOs in preventing displaced children and youths from being subjected to sexual slavery, other forms of sexual violence and kidnappings and from being forced into armed conflict against civilian, government and military targets in Nigeria by the Boko Haram terrorist sect; stresses the paramount need to duly protect children’s rights in Nigeria, a country in which over 40 % of the total population is aged between 0 and 14;

3.  Believes that in the cases of children formerly associated with Boko Haram or other armed groups, non-judicial measures should be considered as an alternative to prosecution and detention;

4.  Welcomes the recent announcement by the Commission of additional funds to boost urgent humanitarian aid to the region; expresses, however, serious concerns about the funding gap between commitments and actual payments for UNICEF operations in the region by the international community at large; calls on donors to meet their commitments without delay in order to address the chronic need for access to basic provisions such as drinking water, basic health care and education;

5.  Calls on the President of Nigeria and his newly appointed Federal Government to adopt strong measures to protect the civilian population, to put special emphasis on the protection of women and girls, to make women’s rights and children’s rights a priority when fighting extremism, to provide help for victims and to prosecute wrongdoers, and to ensure women’s participation in decision-making at all levels;

6.  Calls on the Nigerian Government to launch, as promised by President Buhari, an urgent, independent and thorough investigation into crimes under international law and other serious human rights violations by all parties to the conflict;

7.  Welcomes the change in military leadership and demands that all human rights abuses and crimes committed by both terrorists and Nigerian security forces be investigated in order to address the lack of accountability observed under the former presidency; welcomes the pledge made by President Buhari to investigate evidence that Nigerian military forces have committed serious human rights violations, war crimes and acts which may constitute crimes against humanity;

8.  Urges the President of the Federal Republic to address the challenges involved in abiding by all campaign promises and the latest statements, the most important of which are defeating the terrorist threat, making respect for human rights and humanitarian law a central pillar of military operations, bringing back the Chibok girls and all other abducted women and children alive and unharmed, addressing the ever growing problem of malnutrition, and fighting corruption and impunity in order to deter future abuses and work towards justice for every victim;

9.  Urges the Nigerian authorities and the international community to work closely together and to increase efforts to reverse the continuous trend towards the further displacement of people; welcomes the determination expressed at the Niamey Regional Summit of 20 and 21 January 2015 by the 13 participating countries, and in particular the commitment of Chad, together with Cameroon and Niger, to engage in the fight against the terrorist threats of Boko Haram; calls on the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) to observe international human rights and humanitarian law conscientiously in its operations against Boko Haram; reiterates that a military approach alone will not suffice to counter the Boko Haram insurgency;

10.  Recalls that Boko Haram’s origins are rooted in grievances over poor governance, pervasive corruption and stark inequalities in Nigerian society; urges the Nigerian authorities to eliminate corruption, mismanagement and inefficiencies within the public institutions and the army, and to promote fair taxation; calls for the adoption of measures to starve Boko Haram of its sources of illegal income through cooperation with neighbouring countries, in particular with regard to smuggling and trafficking;

11.  Urges the international community to help Nigeria and the neighbouring countries who host refugees (Cameroon, Chad and Niger) to provide all necessary medical and psychological assistance to those in need; appeals to the authorities in the sub-region to ensure ease of access to the full range of sexual and reproductive health services for women and girls who have been raped, in accordance with the common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions; stresses the need to implement a universal standard for the treatment of war rape victims and to ensure the primacy of international humanitarian law in situations of armed conflict; expresses its full sympathy with women and children who have survived the blind terrorism perpetrated by Boko Haram; calls for the establishment of specialised education programmes aimed at women and children who are victims of war and society as a whole, to help them overcome the terror experienced, to give appropriate and comprehensive information, to combat stigmas and social exclusion and to help them become valued members of society;

12.  Urges the Commission to prioritise assistance for uprooted children and youths in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger, with particular attention on protection from all forms of ferocity and gender violence and on access to education, healthcare and safe drinking water, within the framework of the Emergency Trust Fund for stability and addressing root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa;

13.  Calls on the Nigerian Government to take measures to facilitate the return of displaced persons, especially children, to guarantee their safety, and to assist NGOs in their efforts to improve conditions in the camps for people displaced by the conflict by, inter alia , improving hygiene and sanitation in order to prevent the possible spread of disease;

14.  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 the Parliament of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and the representatives of the ECOWAS and the African Union.

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Joint motion for a resolution on the mass displacement of children in Nigeria as a result of Boko Haram attacks – RC-B8-2015-1003

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Nigeria, in particular to those of 16 July 2014(1) and 30 April 2015(2),

–  having regard to previous statements by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, including those of 8 January, 19 January, 31 March, 14 and 15 April, and 3 July 2015,

–  having regard to the statement by the President of the Security Council of the UN on 28 July 2015,

–  having regard to President Muhammadu Buhari’s address to the UN General Assembly of 28 September 2015, and to the UN counter-terrorism summit,

–  having regard to the Cotonou Agreement,

–  having regard to UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, adopted on 31 October 2000,

–  having regard to the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Organization of African Unity (OAU) Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (1990),

–  having regard to the 2003 Child Rights Act signed into law by the Federal Government of Nigeria,

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948,

–  having regard to the African Union Convention on the prevention and fight against terrorism, ratified by Nigeria on 16 May 2003, and the Additional Protocol, ratified by Nigeria on 22 December 2008,

–  having regard to the EU Emergency Trust Fund for stability and addressing root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa,

–  having regard to the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on violations and abuses committed by Boko Haram and the impact on human rights in the affected countries of 29 September 2015; having regard to the statements by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights regarding the possibility that members of Boko Haram could be accused of war crimes,

–  having regard to Rules 135(5) and 123(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas Nigeria, the most populous and largest economy in Africa, which is ethnically diverse and marked by regional and religious cleavages and a North-South divide with severe economic and social inequalities, has since 2009 become the battlefield of the Boko Haram Islamic terrorist group with its sworn allegiance to Da’esh; whereas the terrorist group has become a growing threat to the stability of Nigeria and the West African region; whereas the Nigerian security forces have often used excessive force and committed abuses during military operations to counter the insurgency;

B.  whereas at least 1 600 civilians have been killed by Boko Haram in the last four months, raising the death toll to at least 3 500 civilians in 2015 alone;

C.  whereas since the emergence of the Boko Haram insurgency its targeted actions against schoolboys and schoolgirls in the area have deprived children of access to education, with the figure of 10.5 million children of primary school age in Nigeria not attending school being the highest in the world, according to UNESCO figures; whereas, like al-Shabaab in Somalia, AQIM, MUJAO and Ansar Dine in North Mali and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Boko Haram targets children and women who receive an education;

D.  whereas despite advances by Nigerian and regional armed forces, increasing attacks and suicide bombings extending beyond the border into neighbouring countries threaten stability and the livelihood of millions of people throughout the entire region; whereas children are in critical danger on account of the deteriorating humanitarian situation, with worsening food insecurity combined with poor access to education, safe drinking water and health services;

E.  whereas the UN estimates that the violence in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states has recently resulted in the number of internally displaced people increasing dramatically to 2.1 million, 58% of whom are children, according to IOM; whereas more than 3 million people have been affected by the insurgency as a whole, and 5.5 million are in need of humanitarian assistance in the Lake Chad Basin;

F.  whereas Nigeria has succeeded in conducting mostly peaceful presidential and gubernatorial elections despite the threats made by Boko Haram to disrupt the ballot; whereas Nigeria and its neighbouring countries created a Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) on 11 June 2015 in Abuja to comply with the decisions taken in Niamey in January 2015 on fighting Boko Haram;

G.  whereas Boko Haram has abducted more than 2 000 women and girls in Nigeria since 2009, including the kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls from Chibok in the north-east of the country on 14 April 2014, an act which shocked the whole world and triggered an international campaign (‘Bring back our Girls’) to rescue them; whereas almost a year and half later, more than 200 of the girls captured in that incident have still not been found;

H.  whereas many more children have since gone missing, or have been abducted or recruited to serve as fighters and house workers, with girls being subjected to rape and forced marriage or forced to convert to Islam; whereas since April 2015 some 300 other girls rescued by the Nigerian security forces from terrorist strongholds and around 60 others who managed to escape their captors from another location have described their life in captivity to Human Rights Watch (HRW) as being one of daily violence and terror, plus physical and psychological abuses; whereas, according to the UNSR for Children and Armed Conflict, the armed conflict in north-eastern Nigeria this past year was one of the world’s deadliest for children, with killings, the growing recruitment and use of children, countless abductions and sexual violence against girls; whereas UNICEF says that more than 23 000 children have been separated from their parents and forced from their home by the violence, running to save their lives inside Nigeria or crossing the border to Cameroon, Chad and Niger;

I.  whereas most of the children living in IDP and refugee camps have lost one or both parents (either killed or missing), as well as siblings and other relatives; whereas, although a number of international and national humanitarian organisations are operating in the camps, access to basic rights for many of these children – including nutrition, shelter (overcrowded and unsanitary), health and education – remains of abysmally low quality;

J.  whereas there are at least 208 000 children without access to education and 83 000 lack access to safe water in the sub-region (Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger), and 23 000 children in the north-east of Nigeria have been separated from their families;

K.  whereas the number of attacks by Boko Haram has risen in Nigeria, as well as in neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger; whereas Boko Haram continues to abduct children and women to carry explosive devices, using them, without their knowledge, as suicide bombers; whereas some of those who had sought refuge on the Chadian side of Lake Chad were again targeted by the same terrorists on Chadian soil;

L.  whereas in June 2015 the EU provided EUR 21 million in humanitarian aid to help displaced people in Nigeria and neighbouring countries affected by the violence of terrorist organisations;

M.  whereas UNICEF, together with governments and partners in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger, is increasing its operations to assist thousands of children and their families in the region by providing access to safe water, education, counselling and psychological support, as well as vaccinations and treatment for severe acute malnutrition; whereas UNICEF has received only 32% of the 50.3 million required this year for its humanitarian response across the Lake Chad region;

N.  whereas a number of the abducted women and girls who have escaped or have been rescued or freed return home pregnant and in dire need of reproductive and maternal health care, and others lack access to basic post-rape health screening, post-traumatic care, social support and rape counselling, according to HRW; whereas the Commission has stated that where pregnancy causes unbearable suffering women must have access to the full range of sexual and reproductive health services based on their medical condition, therefore asserting that international humanitarian law shall in any case prevail;

1.  Strongly condemns Boko Haram crimes, including terrorist raids and suicide bombings in Chad, Cameroon and Niger; stands with the victims and conveys its condolences to all families who have lost loved ones; denounces the ongoing relentless violence in the Nigerian Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states and other cities in the country;

2.  Deplores the acts which have led to the mass displacement of innocent children and calls for immediate coordinated international action to assist the work of UN agencies and NGOs in preventing displaced children and youths from being subjected to sexual slavery, other forms of sexual violence and kidnappings and from being forced into armed conflict against civilian, government and military targets in Nigeria by the Boko Haram terrorist sect; stresses the paramount need to duly protect children’s rights in Nigeria, a country in which over 40% of the total population is aged between 0 and 14;

3.  Believes that in the cases of children formerly associated with Boko Haram or other armed groups, non-judicial measures should be considered as an alternative to prosecution and detention;

4.  Welcomes the recent announcement by the Commission of additional funds to boost urgent humanitarian aid to the region; expresses, however, serious concerns about the funding gap between commitments and actual payments for UNICEF operations in the region by the international community at large; calls on donors to meet their commitments without delay in order to address the chronic need for access to basic provisions such as drinking water, basic health care and education;

5.  Calls on the President of Nigeria and his newly appointed Federal Government to adopt strong measures to protect the civilian population, to put special emphasis on the protection of women and girls, to make women’s rights and children’s rights a priority when fighting extremism, to provide help for victims and to prosecute wrongdoers, and to ensure women’s participation in decision-making at all levels;

6.  Calls on the Nigerian Government to launch, as promised by President Buhari, an urgent, independent and thorough investigation into crimes under international law and other serious human rights violations by all parties to the conflict;

7.  Welcomes the change in military leadership and demands that all human rights abuses and crimes committed by both terrorists and Nigerian security forces be investigated in order to address the lack of accountability observed under the former presidency; welcomes the pledge made by President Buhari to investigate evidence that Nigerian military forces have committed serious human rights violations, war crimes and acts which may constitute crimes against humanity;

8.  Urges the President of the Federal Republic to address the challenges involved in abiding by all campaign promises and the latest statements, the most important of which are defeating the terrorist threat, making respect for human rights and humanitarian law a central pillar of military operations, bringing back the Chibok girls and all other abducted women and children alive and unharmed, addressing the ever growing problem of malnutrition, and fighting corruption and impunity in order to deter future abuses and work towards justice for every victim;

9.  Urges the Nigerian authorities and the international community to work closely together and to increase efforts to reverse the continuous trend towards the further displacement of people; welcomes the determination expressed at the Niamey Regional Summit of 20 and 21 January 2015 by the 13 participating countries, and in particular the commitment of Chad, together with Cameroon and Niger, to engage in the fight against the terrorist threats of Boko Haram; calls on the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) to observe international human rights and humanitarian law conscientiously in its operations against Boko Haram; reiterates that a military approach alone will not suffice to counter the Boko Haram insurgency;

10.  Recalls that Boko Haram’s origins are rooted in grievances over poor governance, pervasive corruption and stark inequalities in Nigerian society; urges the Nigerian authorities to eliminate corruption, mismanagement and inefficiencies within the public institutions and the army, and to promote fair taxation; calls for the adoption of measures to starve Boko Haram of its sources of illegal income through cooperation with neighbouring countries, in particular with regard to smuggling and trafficking;

11.  Urges the international community to help Nigeria and the neighbouring countries who host refugees (Cameroon, Chad and Niger) to provide all necessary medical and psychological assistance to those in need; appeals to the authorities in the sub-region to ensure ease of access to the full range of sexual and reproductive health services for women and girls who have been raped, in accordance with the common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions; stresses the need to implement a universal standard for the treatment of war rape victims and to ensure the primacy of international humanitarian law in situations of armed conflict; expresses its full sympathy with women and children who have survived the blind terrorism perpetrated by Boko Haram; calls for the establishment of specialised education programmes aimed at women and children who are victims of war and society as a whole, to help them overcome the terror experienced, to give appropriate and comprehensive information, to combat stigmas and social exclusion and to help them become valued members of society;

12.  Urges the Commission to prioritise assistance for uprooted children and youths in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger, with particular attention on protection from all forms of ferocity and gender violence and on access to education, healthcare and safe drinking water, within the framework of the Emergency Trust Fund for stability and addressing root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa;

13.  Calls on the Nigerian Government to take measures to facilitate the return of displaced persons, especially children, to guarantee their safety, and to assist NGOs in their efforts to improve conditions in the camps for people displaced by the conflict by, inter alia, improving hygiene and sanitation in order to prevent the possible spread of disease;

14.  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 the Parliament of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and the representatives of the ECOWAS and the African Union.

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Motion for a resolution on the displacement of children in Northern Nigeria as a result of Boko Haram attacks – B8-2015-1027

The European Parliament,

–       having regard to its previous resolutions on Nigeria and in particular to its most recent plenary debate on the matter, of 30 April 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 those of 8 January, 19 January, 31 March, and 14 and 15 April 2015, 3 and 27 July,

–       having regard to the EU Council conclusions on abduction in Nigeria of 9 February 2015,

–       having regard to Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 583/2014 of 28 May 2014 which added Boko Haram to the list of persons, groups and entities covered by the freezing of funds and economic resources,

–       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 ECOWAS Political Declaration and Common Position against Terrorism of 2013, which provides for a regional Counter-Terrorism Strategy and an Implementation Plan to help member states to combat terrorism,

–       having regard to the UN Security Council Presidential Statement of 19 January 2015, which demanded the cessation of hostilities by Boko Haram in Nigeria and the release of hostages, while on 14 February 2015 the UN Security Council condemned Boko Haram attacks, including those on civilians in Chad, Cameroon and Niger,

–       having regard to the 24th African Union Summit of January 2015, which welcomed and supported the efforts deployed by Member States of the Lake Chad Basin Commission and the Republic of Benin to establish a Joint Military Staff Headquarters for conduct of military operations against the Boko Haram terrorist group,

–       having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948,

–       having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966, ratified by Nigeria on 29 October 1993,

–       having regard to the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), adopted in 1979,

–       having regard to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights of 1981, ratified by Nigeria on 22 June 1983,

–       having regard to the UN Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination based on Religion and Belief of 1981,

–       having regard to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by Nigeria in 1991,

–       having regard to the second revision of the Cotonou Agreement, ratified by Nigeria on 27 September 2010,

–       having regard to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria adopted on 29 May 1999, and in particular the provisions of Chapter IV on the protection of fundamental rights, including the right to life, the right to a fair hearing, the right to the dignity of human persons, and the protection of freedom of expression, freedom of the press, freedom of thought, freedom of conscience and freedom of religion,

–       having regard to Rule 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas Boko Haram aims to establish a fully Islamic state in Nigeria, including the implementation of criminal sharia courts across the country, and to forbid western education, particularly to females;

B.  whereas Boko Haram has attacked Nigeria’s police and military, politicians, schools, religious buildings, public institutions and civilians with increasing regularity since 2009, while terrorist acts against civilians continued to escalate by 2013;

C.  whereas in 2015 alone, Boko Haram has killed more than 3.500 civilians;

D.  whereas the Boko Haram attacks have resulted in a massive displacement of local population, including 1.4 million children;

E.  whereas in the last five months alone, 500.000 children had to flee their homes;

F.  whereas women and girls have been sexually enslaved, raped and forced into so-called “marriages”; whereas many survivors of these horrific experiences are now pregnant by their rapists;

G.  whereas the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights recommends to “provide remedies for women and girls whose human rights have been violated, including for sexual violence, establishing a mechanism for nullifying forced marriages, provision of psychosocial counselling, rehabilitation and social reintegration, comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services, including HIV treatment, safe abortion services at a minimum in cases of rape, and to preserve the life and health of the woman or girl, with the full, free and informed consent of the woman or girl, and measures to address stigma against women and girl victims of sexual violence and their child” (Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on violations and abuses committed by Boko Haram and the impact on human rights in the affected countries, 29 September 2015);

H.  whereas in April 2014 more than 270 girls were kidnapped from a government school in Chibok (Borno state); whereas the majority remain missing; whereas since then hundreds more people have been abducted by Boko Haram;

I.  whereas girls as young as 10 years old have been used to carry explosives that detonated in busy markets and bus stations, raising fears that Boko Haram may be using some of its hundreds of kidnapped victims in bomb attacks;

J.  whereas Boko Haram’s international connections to al-Shabaab in Somalia and Al-Quaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQUIM) provide financial support, training and equipment, but whereas Boko Haram is so diffuse that fighters associated with it do not necessarily follow the Salafi doctrine; whereas Boko Haram also generates funds i.e. through drug trafficking, smuggling, weapons trafficking, kidnappings and begging; whereas in addition, some politicians are reportedly supporting the organisation directly;

K.  whereas the Nigerian Government has not been able to quell the insurgency; whereas Nigerian soldiers have carried out mass incarcerations and detentions, as well as extrajudicial killings and other large numbers of violations of human and international law;

L.  whereas 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; whereas to date, no investigation has begun;

M.  whereas the humanitarian situation is dreadful and continues to deteriorate with worsening food insecurity combined with poor access to education, safe drinking water and health services; whereas many families are left without health services, such as routine immunization, maternal and childcare; whereas across the four countries, more than 1100 schools are closed due to the conflict and teachers and students have been deliberately targeted by armed groups;

N.  whereas humanitarian aid needs are far from being met by corresponding funds; e.g. UNICEF has received only 32 percent of the US$ 50.3 million required this year for its humanitarian response across the Lake Chad region; whereas without additional financial support, hundreds of thousands of children will have no access to basic health care, safe drinking water and education;

O.  whereas Nigeria assembled a joint task force (JTF) of military and police units to battle Boko Haram and declared a state of emergency in three northeast states – Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa – in May 2013, but whereas the move pushed the militants out of cities and attacks in rural areas continued;

P.  whereas Boko Haram’s nearly six-year insurgency spilled over from Nigeria into Cameroon in 2013 and into neighbours Chad and Niger;

Q.  whereas in May 2014, Chad and Cameroon agreed to deploy thousands of soldiers to their borders to work together with the Nigerian army, as the Government of Nigeria has found it extremely difficult to handle the crisis;

R.  whereas the Boko Haram terrorist attacks have starkly revealed the inefficiencies of the authorities to address insecurity; whereas poor governance, omnipresent corruption and worsening socio-economic conditions in northern Nigeria are components of the security problem;

S.  whereas economic growth in Nigeria is highly unequal; whereas levels of poverty and unemployment in northern Nigeria are considerably higher than in the oil-rich south;

T.  whereas Boko Haram appeals to the young and poor, and whereas due to their socio-economic circumstances, they are particularly vulnerable to indoctrination and radicalisation by religious fanaticism;

U.  whereas decades of economic mismanagement, instability and corruption have hindered investment in Nigeria’s education and social services systems;

V.  whereas the oil and gas sectors remain the main sources of revenue in Nigeria; whereas both of these sectors are located mainly in the southern part of the country; whereas the northern economy, which is dominated by agricultural production, is also experiencing the effects of climate change, deindustrialisation owing i.a. to energy shortages and the deterioration of infrastructure;

W.  whereas by some estimates, between USD 3 and 8 billion of Nigerian oil is stolen annually; whereas decades of corruption and misrule have undermined the state’s authority and legitimacy;

X.  whereas a development-focused response to the crisis, a ‘Marshall plan for the North’ was announced only in April 2014 by the Nigerian authorities;

1.  Strongly condemns all human rights abuses by Boko Haram since 2009, including those involving violence against civilian populations, notably women and children, kidnappings, killings, hostage-taking, pillaging, rape, sexual slavery and other sexual violence, recruitment of children to act as suicide bombers, destruction of civilian property, as well as the attacks in the Lake Chad Basin region along Nigeria’s borders with Chad and Cameroon and in the northern provinces in Cameroon;

2.  Recalls that, while Boko Haram was becoming more violent, harsh government treatment, including pervasive police brutality, and violent clashes between Christians and Muslims enabled the group to radicalise; in particular, points out that the Nigerian police was responsible for hundreds of extrajudicial killings and disappearances each year that largely went uninvestigated and unpunished; welcomes the pledge by President Buhari to investigate evidence that Nigerian military forces have committed serious human rights violations, war crimes and acts which may constitute crimes against humanity; regrets however that until today no real action has been taken;

3.  Believes that the Nigerian Government has the right and responsibility to defend its people from terrorism, but insists that such actions must be conducted with respect for human rights and the rule of law;

4.  Points out that while Boko Haram’s insurgency initially emerged as a localised Nigerian problem, it has, over time, transformed into a major threat to peace and security in the West African region; accordingly, calls on the Nigerian Government to develop a comprehensive strategy that addresses the root causes of these dynamics, focusing on a soft approach that aims to erode the appeal of Boko Haram’s ideology, inhibit opportunities for recruitment and radicalisation and cut off its financial funding;

5.  In particular, deems that robust and targeted interventions to create jobs in Nigeria, especially in the north, and amongst the border communities of neighbouring countries at large, should form a key priority of the states to dry up Boko Haram’s recruiting base;

6.  Urges donors to increase their humanitarian assistance to refugees, internally displaced people and host communities in Nigeria and neighbouring countries and to give address the huge problem of sexual slavery, rape and its consequences, in particular when it comes to physical and psychological health of victims, exclusion of girls and women from local communities and unwanted pregnancies;

7.  Asks the newly-elected President to maintain his campaign promises and to use available resources to end the violence of Boko Haram, re-establishing stability and security over the whole country; reiterates, in this context, that a military approach alone will not suffice to counter the Boko Haram insurgency, but deems that regional peace and security will only be achieved through a multi-dimensional approach that addresses legitimate grievances, past and current human rights violations and root causes of the conflict;

8.  Recalls that while Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy, largest oil producer and most populous country, its human development indicators are among the world’s lowest, and a majority of the population lives in extreme poverty;

9.  Recalls that Boko Haram’s origins are rooted in grievances over poor governance, pervasive corruption and sharp inequality in Nigerian society; in a context where levels of poverty and unemployment in northern Nigeria are considerably higher than in the oil-rich south, urges the newly-elected President to implement the ‘Marshall plan for the North’; in particular, urges the Nigerian authorities to eliminate corruption, mismanagement and inefficiencies within the public institutions, to provide better education and health care services in the north and to ensure fair repartition of benefits from oil wealth to ensure proper regional development;

10.  Calls on the Nigerian authorities and foreign companies to help strengthen governance in the extractives sector by abiding by the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and publishing what companies pay to the Nigerian Government;

11.  In a context where state responses and police brutality and impunity added to the tensions and escalation of violence, stresses that improving the human rights record of the Nigerian security forces is essential to combat Boko Haram, since it could boost public confidence in the Nigerian security forces, thus encouraging citizens to share information on the insurgents and their collaborators;

12.  More broadly, urges the newly-elected President to eradicate the root causes of radicalisation; this should include measures that put an end to the culture of entrenched impunity and human rights abuses, i.e. by pursuing vigorous reforms of the judicial system; actively engage in addressing the governance deficit and corruption at all levels; adopt measures to deprive Boko Haram of its sources of illegal income, through cooperation with neighbouring countries, in particular with regard to smuggling and trafficking; step up measures to reverse negative socio-economic disparities; encourage and facilitate dialogue across all Nigerian states, ethnic and religious groups, with a view to embarking on a comprehensive decentralisation reform process; fight against tax evasion and illicit financial flows;

13.  Reiterates its call for the immediate release of those who have been abducted, including the girls from Chibok; stresses that those responsible for all abuses and violations of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law must be held accountable;

14.  Urges that girls and women who are victims of rape in the context of armed conflict be offered the full range of sexual and reproductive health services, including abortion, in EU-funded humanitarian facilities, in accordance with the Geneva Conventions’ common Article 3 guaranteeing all necessary medical care required by the condition of the wounded and sick, and without adverse distinction;

15.  Welcomes the determination expressed at the Niamey Regional Summit of 20 and 21 January 2015 by the 13 participating countries, in particular the military commitment of Chad, together with Cameroon and Nigeria, to the fight against the terrorist threats of Boko Haram; encourages a strengthening of this regional response;

16.  Welcomes the initiatives of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union and calls on the African Union to engage, as a matter of urgency, in concrete action, together with all countries involved, to coordinate the fight against terrorist groups in the Sahel region; but recalls that measures taken to combat the terrorist threat of Boko Haram should be conducted in line with international human rights, humanitarian and refugee law;

17.  Calls on ECOWAS to continue the operationalisation of its new Counter-Terrorism Strategy, paying particular attention to the containment of trans-border illicit flows of arms, weapons, fighters and contraband; likewise, deems that the ECOWAS strategy should include a soft approach of improving state services, strengthening of governance and humanitarian aid for those affected by terrorism; urges the EU to facilitate intra-regional initiatives;

18.  Calls upon religious authorities in Nigeria to cooperate in the fight against radicalisation and to use their influence in order to prevent the spread of the fundamentalist Boko Haram ideology;

19.  Urges the VP/HR and the EU to remain committed to their diplomatic efforts in Nigeria, with humanitarian aid assistance to the populations affected by the crisis as well as long-term development cooperation in order to achieve peace, security, good governance and respect for human rights; in particular, urges them to continue political dialogue with Nigeria under Article 8 of the revised Cotonou Agreement, and in that context to address issues relating to universal human rights, including freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief, and non-discrimination on any grounds, as enshrined in universal, regional and national human rights instruments;

20.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and 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 Federal Government of Nigeria, the institutions of the African Union and of ECOWAS, the United Nations Secretary-General, the United Nations General Assembly, the Co-Presidents of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly and the PAN-African Parliament (PAP).

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Motion for a resolution on the displacement of children in Northern Nigeria as a result of Boko Haram attacks – B8-2015-1031

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;

(1)

OJ L 309, 25.11.2005, p. 15.

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