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

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

Ali Regained Title in Historic Fight 40 Years Ago

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license 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.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid