News / Africa

UN: Sale of Girls by Boko Haram Would Be Crime Against Humanity

Protesters march in support of the girls kidnapped by members of Boko Haram in front of the Nigerian Embassy in Washington, D.C., May 6, 2014.
Protesters march in support of the girls kidnapped by members of Boko Haram in front of the Nigerian Embassy in Washington, D.C., May 6, 2014.
Lisa Schlein
The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights says the reported intention by Boko Haram to sell abducted girls as slaves could constitute a crime against humanity. The militant group reportedly has kidnapped eight more girls in northeastern Nigeria. This follows last month’s abduction of more than 300 schoolgirls.
 
The U.N. Human Rights office is condemning the outrageous claims made in a video by the alleged leader of Boko Haram in Nigeria Monday. In that video, he referred to the abducted girls as slaves and said he would sell them in the market and marry them off.
 
U.N. Human Rights Commission spokesman Rupert Colville said Tuesday the members of this militant Islamic group will pay a price for their crimes. He said there is an absolute prohibition against slavery and sexual slavery in international law.  And under certain circumstances, he said, these can constitute crimes against humanity.
 
“There is no statute of limitations for very serious international crimes, especially crimes against humanity ...  Slavery, sexual slavery under international law can be considered as crimes against humanity. That means anyone responsible can be arrested and charged and prosecuted and jailed at any time in the future.  So, just because they think they are safe now, they will not necessarily be in two years, five years, 10 years’ time,” said Colville. 
 
There are specific criteria for an act to reach the level of crimes against humanity. The International Criminal Court defines such offenses as "particularly odious" and that constitute a serious attack on human dignity or grave humiliation or degradation of human beings. It also says such acts reach the threshold of crimes against humanity if they are part of a government policy, tolerated by a government, or if they are part of a widespread or systematic practice.
 
Last year, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court referred to reports of murder and persecution by Boko Haram to justify its belief that the Islamic group committed crimes against humanity.

'All necessary measures'

Three weeks ago, Boko Haram abducted more than 300 schoolgirls from their dormitory in Chibok in Borno State in northern Nigeria. Some have escaped, but the kidnappers hold more than 270 girls. The Nigerian government has been widely criticized for not doing enough to find and free these girls.

In commenting on Boko Haram’s intention to sell the abducted girls, Colville said the consequences of forced marriage can be absolutely devastating. He said the power differentials between the girls and their so-called spouses are likely to strip them of autonomy and undermine their freedom of will and expression.

“The situation will be tantamount to slavery or slavery-like practices within the so-called marriage. It is also likely to expose them to continuous physical, psychological, economic, and sexual violence and also, probably, restrictions of movement," he said. "So, it is a totally devastating experience for anyone to have to go through.”  

The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, is urging Nigerian authorities to take all necessary measures, consistent with human rights, to protect their people from the violations and crimes perpetrated by Boko Haram.

You May Like

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

Physically and culturally close to Western Europe, Lviv feels solidarity with compatriots in country’s east but says they need to decide own future More

West African Women Disproportionately Affected by Ebola

Women's roles in families and the community put them at greater risk for contracting the disease, officials say More

Video NASA's MAVEN Spacecraft Arrives at Mars

Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution craft will measure rates at which gases escape Martian atmosphere into space More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
    Next 
by: kizito from: abuja
May 14, 2014 12:53 AM
us should not only send intellgence and logistic team, they should also come with combat team and embark on full military operation. Because there is only but one path..... :We kill them all:


by: helen from: USA
May 12, 2014 11:31 AM
some girls escaped,escaped or killed for not turning to islam


by: Eric from: New York
May 12, 2014 8:30 AM
Everything possible? Ask the USA to send a Marine Expeditionary Unit to come kill them all. The girls would be home in a week


by: Debi Brand from: Claremore, OK
May 08, 2014 11:14 PM

“Slavery, sexual slavery under international law can be considered as crimes against humanity.”

And well they should be.

As so too should be, cold blooded murdering, burning down churches and houses because one openly apologetically rejects the teachings of Muhammad.

But the problem is, that mentioned murdering, destroying, and enslavement are part of the teachings of the Qur’an and the example and instruction of/in the traditions of their prophet.

This is all just part of their basic belief system.

Add to that, the “believer” is Allah-commanded to not harm the prophet. Finding fault in him and the deen he brought counts as harming him. Dishonoring him. Thus, obligates the believer to defend the honor of their prophet.

So we will see more murders, more abductions, more destroying of churches, home, and businesses by arson as more “believers’ obey Allah’s command, and follow the Sunnah of their prophet.

In short: wherever Islam is practiced, Islam will be practiced.


by: Markus from: Sandy
May 07, 2014 2:45 PM
Rubbish comment. It is baffling that the UN is waiting for this nefarious group to commit more evil before they declare their actions as crimes against humanity as if these hideous crimes are not crime enough. Shows how sterile the UN and its leadership has become.


by: Banduren from: UT
May 07, 2014 2:40 PM
This UN comment is as outrageous as the crimes themselves. Why are they putting an if clause on these horrible groups. Boko haram has already committed numerous crimes against humanity and the UN is waiting for them commit more before they declare these evil actions as crimes against humanity. Perhaps if these actions were committed Syria or North Korea or Iran, then they will have more weight. I am baffled. It shows that this world group is seriously becoming irrelevant.


by: mike tomaszewski from: lancaster, ny usa
May 07, 2014 12:11 PM
If these girls are sold, then every Boko Harum individual caught by the government should be sold into slavery in some other country. See how they like it from the receiving end


by: Not Again from: Canada
May 07, 2014 8:02 AM
The UN as usual is in the dark ages when it comes to Islamist crimes; everything that this terrorist, Boko Haram, org does is crimes against humanity, all their past attacks deliberately targeted civilians; the massacre of the school boys; the bus bombings; the market bombings, attacking Cristians, attacking churches,... etc.

More importantly, people purchasing and having slaves is also a crime against humanity....It appears that the UN continues to go slow and easy, as usual, on Islamists and their very serious crimes; one can only see this situation as an inherent organizational bias! I wonder why, could it be due to the composition of the HR org???


by: markjuliansmith from: Canberra
May 07, 2014 6:37 AM
UN warns Boko Haram", as they warned Syria, as they warned North Korea, as they warned .... I am once again reminded of Lincoln's view of Douglas (UN) "..one of them brags about what he means to do. He jumps in the air cracking his heels together, smites his fists, and wastes his breath trying to scare somebody." Nobody inclusive of Boko Haram are 'scared'. Boko Haram will just continue to do as they do, as their Islamic cultural codex justifies and authorises. Change the Architect and Builder or Change Nothing. As we see more school girls have been taken, Change the Islamic codex construct of Other and women or Change Nothing.


by: Hamidi from: Kabul Afghanistan
May 07, 2014 5:32 AM
We are all humans, and we should pay our full attention to the rights of even each living soul who living on the earth because everyone and every living has its own freedom of life, the only diversity between humans and Animals is that the creator of the Nature donated the tongue as a biggest gift which we could stay in touch with each other and reach the agreement.
So why kidnapping? Why violence? Why the trade of the girls? And why we need the rule and law of UN?
Finally we should be human and we should act as human, let’s stop the beast activities against our society
Hamidi

Comments page of 2
    Next 

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbiti
X
September 22, 2014 9:20 PM
NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid