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SERAP flays govt over spate of violence

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has criticized “the failure of the government to exercise due diligence to prevent the continuing violence and unnecessary loss of lives,” arguing that “this failure constitutes a serious breach of the government’s international obligations to protect and ensure protection of the citizens’ right to life and the security of human person.”

In a public statement dated 28 December 2011 and signed by the organization’s executive director Adetokunbo Mumuni, the group said that, “We are seriously concerned that tens of thousands have been killed in continuing ethno-religious violence in Jos, Madalla, and other parts of the country, and properties destroyed.”

According to the organization, “The Nigerian government is required under human rights treaties, including the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which it is a state party, to keep its citizens safe, ranging from the threat of communal violence to sectarian violence.”

The organization also said that “It is the duty of the government to protect human life against unwarranted actions by public authorities as well as by private persons. The right to security includes how the government protects the physical integrity of its citizens from abuse by other citizens.”

“We are concerned that the constant and widespread killings and lack of security in the country constitute a gross violation of human rights, and may amount to crimes against humanity.”

The organization also said that, “In failing to provide adequate security for the citizens and to prevent, investigate and punish perpetrators of these attacks, the Nigerian authorities are failing in their duty under the Constitution and international human rights law and standards to exercise due diligence to respect, protect, and fulfil the victims’ right to life and security of person.”

“We therefore urge President Goodluck Jonathan to demonstrate greater level of leadership and authority to ensure that his government is able to discharge the basic obligation to protect the right to life and security of the person and the right to property throughout the country,” the organization also said.

The organization said that “President Jonathan must urgently put in place effective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to peace, stability and realization of citizens’ sacred human rights. The right to life is the supreme right of the human being. It is basic to all human rights and without it all other rights are without meaning.”

“The government must also publicly commit to thoroughly investigating the violence and bringing suspected perpetrators to justice, as well as providing adequate compensation to victims. The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights has held that states parties to the African Charter must guarantee the rights in the Charter and that the victims have a right to compensation even where it is established that the State officials are not directly responsible for violations,” the organization further added.


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