News / Africa

UN Urges Nigeria to Stop Ethnic, Religious Violence

A victim of a bomb blast that ripped through the United Nations offices in the Nigerian capital of Abuja is loaded into an ambulance, August 26, 2011
A victim of a bomb blast that ripped through the United Nations offices in the Nigerian capital of Abuja is loaded into an ambulance, August 26, 2011
Lisa Schlein

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights is calling for an end to ethnic and religious violence in Nigeria’s “Middle Belt,” particularly in and around the city of Jos.  U.N. officials want national and local authorities to address the underlying causes of the deadly attacks.  

Violent ethnic and religious clashes erupted early last month in Nigeria’s so-called Middle Belt causing death, injury and destruction.  The United Nations reports about 70 people have been killed so far.

Ethnic and religious divisions have affected this region for many years, provoking a cycle of violence and deadly reprisal attacks.  Nigeria's Middle Belt divides the predominantly Christian south from the mainly Muslim north.  

In a statement released Friday, U.N. Human Rights Chief, Navi Pillay called for a concerted effort to deal with the underlying causes of such repeated violent outbreaks.  Her spokesman, Rupert Colville, says Nigerian authorities should take immediate steps to prevent further violence.  

“We encourage the authorities at national and local level to take effective preventative measures against such violence, including by curbing hate-speech and working with civil society, including human rights NGOs [non-governmental organization], religious leaders and academic institutions, to attempt to bring about reconciliation between the various communities.  It is of utmost importance that justice is done and is seen to be done by prosecuting the alleged perpetrators of violence, whoever they may be and ensuring remedies for victims and their families,” Colville said.  

Colville says the security forces also must act within the law, and they must be even-handed in their treatment when responding to outbreaks of violence in the country.  

He says the security forces sometimes make the situation worse by appearing to take one side or the other.  And, he notes they sometimes react with excessive force, which makes the situation worse.

“In the past, they have gone into Jos and into other areas and reacted very heavy handedly, which resulted in civilians getting killed and just accelerating the resentments.  So, that is something, I think, that the authorities need to try and work on,” Colville said.  

Colville describes in appalling detail the vicious attacks, which have occurred between Christian and Muslim youths since early August.  In the last such assault, which took place September 4, he says a family of eight was hacked to death.  And, he says seven more people were reported killed that evening in attacks by youths on a village near Jos.

The High Commissioner for Human Rights also condemns the brutal tactics of the militant Islamist group Boko Haram.  The militants claimed responsibility for the August 26 bombing of U.N. headquarters in the Nigerian capital, Abuja.  More than 20 people were killed and dozens seriously wounded.

You May Like

Tunnel Bombs Highlight Savagery of Aleppo Fight

Rebels have used tunneling tactic near government buildings, command posts or supply routes to set off explosives; they detonated their largest bomb this week under Syria's intelligence headquarters More

Sierra Leone Launches New Initiative to Stop Ebola Spread

Government hopes Infection and Prevention Control Units, IPC, will help protect patients and healthcare workers More

UN Official: Fight Against Terrorism Must Not Violate Human Rights

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says efforts by states to combat terrorism are resulting in large scale rights violations against the very citizens they claim to defend More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boyi
X
Jeff Seldin
March 05, 2015 2:36 AM
A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960s Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More