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Civil society groups ask UN to sanction Boko Haram sponsors

By Abdulwahab Abdulah

Four leading civil society organisations have petitioned the United Nation, UN Security Council asking it to imposee sanctions against countries aiding and abetting the islamist group, Boko Haram.

In the petition, the group led by Socio Economic Rights Advocacy Project, SERAP, called on the world body to immediately initiate and adopt a resolution, “expressing grave concerns about the deteriorating human rights and humanitarian situation in several parts of the North-East of Nigeria in the context of the armed conflict between the Nigerian government and the Islamist group Boko Haram.” 
 
In the letter dated 14 November 2014, the group want the council to “request the AU and ECOWAS to sanction any neighbouring states that may aiding and abetting international crimes through weak border controls and other means; and banks that fail to monitor cash transactions in and out of their branches and thereby enable groups like Boko Haram to launder tainted money.”

Others involved in the request are the Enough is Enough Nigeria Coalition (EiE Nigeria), Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC), and Women Empowerment and Legal Aid Initiative (WELA).

According to the group, “Initiating, supporting and adopting the proposed resolution will send a powerful message that the international community has not abandoned the victims and in fact ready to play a meaningful role to end the conflict which has continued to result in serious human rights violations, such as the unlawful killing and displacement of thousands of people.”

It stated further:  “Support from all Member States is important to demonstrate that an important institution of the UN committed to promoting international peace and security stand with the people of Nigeria.”
 
They demanded that the UN Secretary-General, Ban Kimo  appoint a Special Representative on the situation in the Northeast of Nigeria to investigate the complicity of any ECOWAS members, individuals or organizations as well  report to the Council at regular intervals on the implementation of the proposed resolution.

Part of their requests were that member states should express grave concerns over the continuing deterioration of the human rights and humanitarian situation in the Northeast of Nigeria, and encourage all efforts aimed at restoring lasting peace and stability.

Beside, they want Member States to fully cooperate with one another and with the African Union (AU) and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Member States and urge them to identify possible funding and support networks for fighting Boko Haram.

They also requested that Member States, AU and ECOWAS members to ensure that their financial institutions implement enhanced reporting mechanisms for suspicious transactions and to identify banks that are providing financial services to money laundering and terrorist financing.

They also want the body  to identify and bring to justice anyone responsible for financing the activities of Boko Haram through speedy trials as well as  sanctioning any neighboring states that may be aiding and abetting international crimes through weak border controls and other means; and banks that fail to monitor cash transactions in and out of their branches and thereby enable groups like Boko Haram and their sponsors to launder tainted money.

It added, “We strongly believe that the human rights and humanitarian situation in the Northeast of Nigeria now meets the threshold of “definite threat to international peace and security” in Article 39 of the UN Charter, thus requiring immediate and urgent action by Member States of the Security Council.”

“We believe that Member States now stand at a crossroads in their approach to the human rights and humanitarian tragedy in north-east of Nigeria.

“Now is the time for Member States to stand with the victims of serious violations of human rights in Nigeria if they are not to be accused of double standard in the discharge of the important mandates of the Security Council,” the groups also said.

They equally expressed their concern over  the unending crisis, which they argued, have devastating effects on the civilian population, especially the poor, children, women and elderly.

The groups further noted that It has been shown that the Nigerian security forces are unable or unwilling to deter or halt the increasing attacks. The international obligations and commitments by the government to respect, protect and fulfill the human rights of the citizens against attacks are observed more in breach than compliance.


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