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MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the displacement of children in Northern Nigeria as a result of Boko Haram attacks

6.10.2015 - (2015/2876(RSP))

with request for inclusion in the agenda for a debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law
pursuant to Rule 135 of the Rules of Procedure

Mark Demesmaeker, Ryszard Antoni Legutko, Tomasz Piotr Poręba, Ryszard Czarnecki, Angel Dzhambazki, Jana Žitňanská, Valdemar Tomaševski, Anna Elżbieta Fotyga, Branislav Škripek, Beatrix von Storch on behalf of the ECR Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-1003/2015

Förfarande : 2015/2876(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on the displacement of children in Northern Nigeria as a result of Boko Haram attacks


The European Parliament,

- having regard to principles laid down in the Declaration of the Rights of the Child adopted in Geneva in 1959,

- having regard to the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child,

-  having regard to the African Union Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (CRWC) adopted in July 1990

- having regard to the UN Secretary General’s Report on Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC), published on 1 July 2014,

- having regard to the fifth Nigeria-EU ministerial dialogue, held in Abuja on 27 November 2014,

- having regard to the Nigeria-EU Joint Way Forward of 2009,

- having regard to statements by the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) on the situation in Nigeria,

- having regard to statements by the Secretary-General of the United Nations on the situation in Nigeria,

- having regard to the statement of 8 January 2015 by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Office for West Africa, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, on the situation in Nigeria,

- having regard to the Declaration of Human Rights of 1948,

- having regard to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights of 1981, ratified by Nigeria on 22 June 1983,

- having regard to the second revision of the Cotonou Agreement 2007-2013, ratified by Nigeria on 27 September 2010,

- having regard to Chapter IV of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion,

- having regard to the European Parliament resolution of 16th July 2014 on Nigeria – recent attacks by Boko Haram (2014/2729(RSP))

- having regard to Rule 135(5) of its Rules of Procedure,


A. Whereas throughout northeast Nigeria and across the border regions in Cameroon, Chad and Niger, children are in critical danger and whereas the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate with worsening food insecurity combined with poor access to education, safe drinking water and health services;

B. whereas a sharp increase in attacks by the armed group Boko Haram has uprooted 500,000 children over the past five months, bringing the total number of children on the run in northeast Nigeria and neighbouring countries to 1.4 million;

C. whereas in northern Nigeria alone, nearly 1.2 million children – over half of them under 5 years old – have been forced to flee their homes and an additional 265,000 children have been uprooted in Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

D. whereas in northeast Nigeria, the conflict has left approximately 23,000 children separated from their parents, whilst without the protection of their families, they are extremely vulnerable to exploitation by adults and involvement in criminal or armed group activities;

E. whereas in April 2014 more than 270 girls were kidnapped from a government school in Chibok, Borno State; whereas 219remain missing; whereas since then hundreds more people have been abducted by Boko Haram;

F. whereas tens of thousands children are suffering from acute malnutrition, and are exposed to other deadly diseases such as cholera, diarrhoea and malaria; whereas across the four countries, more than 1100 schools are closed or facing major disruption of services due to the conflict, teachers and students have been deliberately targeted by armed groups, many class rooms have been damaged, looted or occupied;

G. whereas at least 2,000 women and girls have been abducted by Boko Haram since the start of 2014 and many have been forced into sexual slavery, trained to fight; whereas children as young as 12 are turned into weapons, and forced to carry bombs in combat operations;

H. whereas on 22nd September the Nigerian military rescued 241 women and children in a raid on two camps controlled by the Boko Haram terrorist group;

I. whereas many health workers have fled while others are not able to access those in need, leaving many families without health services, such as routine immunization, maternal and childcare;

J. whereas the peace and stability of Nigeria is increasingly threatened by the militant Islamist group Boko Haram, which has wreaked havoc since 2009 with a wave of bombings, assassinations and abductions as it seeks to impose a strict form of Sharia law, overthrow the government and create an Islamic state;

K. whereas in 2014 alone it has been estimated that more than 4 000 people were killed in attacks by the Islamist terror group Boko Haram, and 900 people kidnapped; whereas the United Nations estimates that over 1.5 million people have been displaced, and at least three million have been affected by the insurgency in north-east Nigeria;

L. whereas up to 2 000 people were reportedly killed in the town of Baga on 3 January 2015 in the bloodiest attack yet by Boko Haram; whereas the Nigerian Government disputes these figures and, despite credible reports suggesting most of the victims were children, women and elderly people, claims around 150 people were killed, of which most were militants;

M. whereas Boko Haram has also targeted churches in what is believed to be attempts by the militants to stir up religious tension;


1. Strongly condemns the ongoing and increasingly disturbing violence in Nigeria, including the use of children as suicide bombers, which have led to thousands of deaths and injuries, and displaced hundreds of thousands more;

2. Deplores the massacre of innocent men, women and children, and stands shoulder to shoulder with the people of Nigeria in their determination to fight all forms of terrorism in their country;

3. Deplores the fact that children remain at permanent risk of getting trapped in violence, separated from their families, exposed to sexual violence, recruited by armed groups and held in detention;

4. Condemns Boko Haram for increasingly using children and women in bombing attacks and stresses that children must be seen as victims, not perpetrators;

5. Insists that Boko Haram should halt all attacks and release immediately all children and women in its custody,

6. Notes that UNICEF has received only 32 per cent of the US$ 50.3 million required this year for its humanitarian response across the Lake Chad region; Calls on the international community to increase its response and provide Nigerian people with the necessary financial and humanitarian assistance and respond to children’s most pressing needs including access to clean water and life saving health services, restoring access to education, delivering therapeutic treatment to malnourished children and ensuring that children receive psychological support ;

7. Praises the work and bravery of humanitarian actors, local and international health workers, journalists and human rights defenders in seeking to bring to the world’s attention the barbarity of Boko Haram’s extremism and the innocent victims of their violence;

8. Calls for the international community to fulfil its commitment in providing a comprehensive range of political, development and humanitarian support to Nigeria and its people in tackling the Boko Haram threat and in ensuring the development of the country;

9. Calls for concerted international efforts to end the Nigerian bloodshed, but believes this must be driven by greater regional cooperation between states and other relevant actors; Urges the EEAS, the Council and the Commission to work with the UN and other international partners to cut off funding for, and restrict the movements of, Boko Haram and, in particular, its leadership;

10. Believes the Nigerian Government has a right and responsibility to defend its people from terrorism, but recalls that such actions must be conducted in accordance with respect for human rights and the rule of law;

11. Supports the Nigerian Government in its actions aimed at combatting the Boko Haram threat, but reminds it of its responsibilities to ensure such actions are conducted in accordance with international law;

12. Calls for further international efforts to secure the release of the 200-plus girls kidnapped by Boko Haram from a government school in Chibok, Borno, in April 2014;

13. Urges the Nigerian Government to work with regional partners to build a strong, robust coalition to combat the Boko Haram threat; further warns that without such cooperation the violence is likely to continue, undermining peace and stability across the region;

14. Condemns Boko Haram’s targeting of religious institutions and worshippers, and notes that the group’s violence has struck Christian, Muslim and other faiths without distinction;

15. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the European External Action Service, the Vice-President of the European Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the parliaments and governments of the Member States, the Federal Government of Nigeria, the institutions of the African Union and of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the United Nations Secretary-General, the United Nations General Assembly, the Co-Presidents of the ACP EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly and the PAN-African Parliament.