MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the mass displacement of children in Nigeria as a result of Boko Haram attacks
6.10.2015 - (2015/2876(RSP))
pursuant to Rule 135 of the Rules of Procedure
Josef Weidenholzer, Ana Gomes, Alessia Maria Mosca, Victor Boştinaru, Elena Valenciano, Richard Howitt, Afzal Khan, Norbert Neuser, Pier Antonio Panzeri, Eric Andrieu, Nikos Androulakis, Zigmantas Balčytis, Hugues Bayet, Brando Benifei, Goffredo Maria Bettini, José Blanco López, Vilija Blinkevičiūtė, Simona Bonafè, Biljana Borzan, Nicola Caputo, Andrea Cozzolino, Andi Cristea, Viorica Dăncilă, Nicola Danti, Isabella De Monte, Jonás Fernández, Monika Flašíková Beňová, Eugen Freund, Doru-Claudian Frunzulică, Eider Gardiazabal Rubial, Enrico Gasbarra, Elena Gentile, Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg, Neena Gill, Michela Giuffrida, Maria Grapini, Theresa Griffin, Roberto Gualtieri, Sylvie Guillaume, Sergio Gutiérrez Prieto, Anna Hedh, Cătălin Sorin Ivan, Liisa Jaakonsaari, Jude Kirton-Darling, Jeppe Kofod, Javi López, Olle Ludvigsson, Krystyna Łybacka, Andrejs Mamikins, Louis-Joseph Manscour, David Martin, Csaba Molnár, Victor Negrescu, Momchil Nekov, Jens Nilsson, Demetris Papadakis, Vincent Peillon, Tonino Picula, Miroslav Poche, Inmaculada Rodríguez-Piñero Fernández, Daciana Octavia Sârbu, Olga Sehnalová, Siôn Simon, Tibor Szanyi, Claudia Tapardel, Marc Tarabella, Marita Ulvskog, Daniele Viotti, Boris Zala, Flavio Zanonato, Damiano Zoffoli on behalf of the S&D Group
See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-1003/2015
European Parliament resolution on the mass displacement of children in Nigeria as a result of Boko Haram attacks
The European Parliament,
– having regard to its previous resolutions on Nigeria and in particular that of 29 April 2015
– having regard to previous statements by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, including those of 8 January, 19 January, 31 March, and 14 and 15 April, 3 July 2015,
– having regard to the outcome of the UN counter terrorism summit held in New York from 28 – 30 September 2015
– having regard to President Muhammadu Buhari’s address to the UN General Assembly of 28 September 2015, and the UN counter terrorism summit.
– having regard to the Council conclusions of 9 February 2015,
– having regard to the EU Emergency Trust Fund for stability and addressing root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa
– having regard to Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 583/2014 of 28 May 2014, which added Boko Haram to the list of persons, groups and entities covered by the freezing of funds and economic resources,
– having regard to the conclusions of the EU and European Parliament election observation missions,
– having regard to the statements made by the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, on the continuing violence and deteriorating security situation in north‑eastern Nigeria of 22 May 2015
– having regard to the statements by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on the possibility that members of Boko Haram could be accused of war crimes,
– having regard to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
– having regard to the UN Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief of 1981,
– having regard to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights of 1981, ratified by Nigeria on 22 June 1983,
– having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966, ratified by Nigeria on 29 October 1993,
– having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948,
– having regard to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, adopted on 29 May 1999, and in particular the provisions of Chapter IV thereof,
– having regard to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the optional protocol thereto,
– having regard to the Partnership Agreement between the members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, of the one part, and the European Community and its Member States, of the other part (the Cotonou Agreement),
– having regard to Article 208 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which establishes taking into account the principle of policy coherence for development in all EU external policies,
– having regard to the EU Children of Peace initiative
– having regard to Rule 123(2) and (4) of its Rules of Procedure,
A. Whereas increasing attacks by the terror group Boko Haram in Nigeria continue to threaten peace, stability and the livelihood of millions of people throughout the entire region resulting in more than 22 000 deaths since 2009, indiscriminately targeting civilians who do not adhere to their extreme beliefs.
B. Whereas the UN estimates that the violence in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states has recently seen a dramatic increase in internally displaced people to almost 2 million, while more than 3 million people have been affected by the insurgency as a whole, and 5.5 million are in need of humanitarian assistance in the lake Chad Basin.
C. Whereas the latest spate of attacks has uprooted 500,000 children, bringing the total number of displaced children in north east Nigeria and neighbouring Chad and Niger, to 1.4 million according to UNICEF figures, ripping families apart and causing immense suffering.
D. Whereas half of the displaced children are estimated to be under 5 years old, with many being forcibly recruited to the ranks of Boko Haram, exploited to sexual violence and many of those in IDP camps being exposed to outbreaks of cholera which have been reported throughout the region.
E. Whereas the unsustainable displacement of the effected children is having an extremely detrimental effect on their long term well being, with a lack of nutrition, access to education and psychological trauma posing a threat to an entire generation throughout the region.
F. Whereas in April 2014 more than 270 girls were kidnapped from a government school in Chibok (Borno state); whereas the majority remain missing and are at serious risk of sexual violence, enslavement and forced marriage; whereas since then hundreds more people have been abducted by Boko Haram; whereas on 28 April 2015 almost 300 girls and women were rescued in Sambisa Forest;
G. Whereas on 2 October 2015, Abuja experienced its first bombings in 16 months when two explosions, one of which a suicide bombing, rocked the Nyanya and Kuje suburbs, killing at least 18 and injuring 40; whereas on 3 October, around ten people were reported to have died in multiple blasts in the Kayamla and Dalori areas of Maiduguri.
H. Whereas around 150 people were murdered in north eastern Borneo state on 3 July 2015 on an attack targeting Muslim worshippers during Ramadan adding to the attacks carried out by Boko Haram already in 2015, which have shown an alarming rise in the use of women and children to carry out such attacks.
I. Whereas despite commitments from the international community, UNICEF has received only 32 per cent of the USD 50.3 million required for its humanitarian operations across the Lake Chad region for 2015, denying thousands of children access to basic health care.
J. Whereas on 18 June 2015 Commissioner Stylianides announced and additional EUR 12.5 million of the funding to tackle the humanitarian challenges in Nigeria, and EUR 8.5 million to supporting refugees in Niger, Cameroon and Chad, in addition to the EUR 123 million of humanitarian assistance already allocated to the region in 2015
K. Whereas Nigeria is the biggest economy in the African continent and a major EU trading partner, but whereas despite its vast resources, Nigeria ranks among the most unequal countries in the world, with more than 70 % of its population living on less than USD 1.25 per day and 10 % of the country’s population controlling over 90 % of its wealth and resources;
L. Whereas the spillover of the Boko Haram insurgency into neighbouring countries highlights the importance of greater regional cooperation and response; whereas more than 300 000 Nigerians have fled to north-western Cameroon and south‑western Niger to escape the violence, and whereas hundreds of Nigerians are risking their lives on the migration routes to the EU in hope of living in better economic, social and security conditions;
M. Whereas recurrent conflict, erratic weather patterns, epidemics and other shocks continue to worsen security in the region, with farmers no longer able to cultivate their lands or harvest their products for fear of being attacked by Boko Haram, a situation that is further exacerbating food insecurity.
N. Whereas, recent months have seen an alarming increase in attacks by armed Fulani herdsmen on non-Muslim farming communities in central Nigeria have claimed over 500 lives in five states in central Nigeria, namely in Benue, Nasarawa, Plateau, Taraba States and in the southern part of Kaduna State.
O. Whereas oil revenues have been steadily decreasing and an economic crisis is looming, and whereas, by some estimates, between USD 3 billion and USD 8 billion in Nigerian oil is stolen annually; whereas decades of economic mismanagement, instability and corruption have hindered investment in Nigeria’s education and social services systems;
P. Whereas education, literacy, women’s rights, social justice and a fair distribution of state revenues in society through tax systems, reducing inequality, and the fight against corruption and tax evasion are key to fighting fundamentalism, violence and intolerance;
Q. Whereas the Chadian army, together with Niger and Cameroon, is the main force fighting against Boko Haram, and whereas its full involvement against Boko Haram terrorists in Gamboru Ngala, Malam Fatori and Kangalam in Nigeria is acknowledged; whereas the great price paid by this army in the war against terrorism is recognised; whereas the European Parliament expresses its full solidarity with the wounded and the families of the victims;
1. Strongly condemns the ongoing, disturbing attacks by Boko Haram in Northern Nigeria which has lead to an increase in the displacement of people including the estimated 500 000 children. Deplores the increasing wave of gun attacks and suicide bombings in the region which Boko Haram has forced women and children to carry out. Extends its condolences to those killed and affected by the latest wave of terrorist attacks, including the most recent of 3 October 2015 in Abuja.
2. Deplores the acts which have lead to the mass displacement of innocent children and calls for immediate coordinated international assistance to assist the work of UNICEF in preventing the displaced children and youth from being subjected to sexual slavery and other sexual violence, kidnappings and forced armed conflict by the terrorist sect Boko Haram against civilian, government and military targets in Nigeria.
3. Welcomes the recent announcement by the European Commission of additional funds to boost urgent humanitarian aid to the region. Expresses however serious concern about the funding gap between commitments and actual payments for UNICEF operations in the region by the international community at large. Calls on donors to meet their commitments without delay in order to address the chronic need for access to basic provisions such as drinking water basic health care and education.
4. Calls on the European Commission to prioritise assistance to assist uprooted children and youth in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger with particular attention on protection from all forms of violence, access to education, health care and safe drinking water in the framework of the “Emergency Trust Fund for stability and addressing root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa.”
5. Highlights the importance in ensuring victims of the violence and the uprooted children receive appropriate treatment, including psychological support and that girls and women who are victims of rape in the context of armed conflict be offered the full range of sexual and reproductive health services, in EU-funded humanitarian facilities, in accordance with common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, which guarantees all necessary medical care required by the condition of the wounded and sick,
6. Reiterates the need for the Nigerian government and the international community to do everything in their power to seek the safe release of 276 girls abducted from a school outside Chibok, and at least another 2 000 girls and women have been taken.
7. Underlines the commitment of President Buhari in his address to the 70th session of the UNGA in developing a strategy to put all resources into bringing an end to the violence of Boko Haram re-establish stability and security across the whole country and address the root causes of this terrorism. Urges the international community to do more to help the Nigerian Government fight Boko Haram and address the root causes of terrorism, as only a global response can ensure a permanent end to violence and fundamentalism
8. Stresses in particular the need for the Nigerian government to take firmer action to fight internal corruption, mismanagement and inefficiencies within the public institutions and the army, which have rendered it incapable of dealing with the scourge of Boko Haram in the north of the country, and to adopt measures to starve Boko Haram of its sources of illegal income through cooperation with neighbouring countries, in particular with regard to smuggling and trafficking; In particular calls on the EU and its Member States to assist
9. Reiterates its call for the Nigerian authorities to adopt a roadmap for the social and economic development of the northern and southern states in order to address the issues of poverty, inequality, educational opportunities and access to healthcare, promoting fair distribution of oil revenues in the context of decentralisation, which are a cause of spiralling violence; Calls on Nigeria’s religious authorities and leaders to cooperate actively with civil society and public authorities in order to combat extremism and radicalisation;
10. Welcomes the determination expressed at the Niamey Regional Summit of 20 and 21 January 2015 by the 13 participating countries, in particular the military commitment of Chad, together with Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria, to the fight against the terrorist threats of Boko Haram; encourages a strengthening of this regional response, using all existing tools and in full compliance with international law; calls on ECOWAS, in particular, to continue to make its new Counter-Terrorism Strategy operational, paying particular attention to the containment of cross-border illicit flows of arms, weapons, fighters and contraband; further insists that without such cooperation the violence is likely to continue, undermining peace and stability across the region; points, in this regard, to the pledge of allegiance made by Boko Haram to Islamic State, and to the necessity of impeding any further coordination or cooperation between the two terrorist organisations and the expansion of this threat;
11. Welcomes the initiatives of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union, and calls on the African Union to engage, as a matter of urgency, in concrete action, together with all the countries involved, to coordinate the fight against terrorist groups in the Sahel region; urges the European Union to support the development of regional mechanisms for conflict management, such as the African Standby Force, as well as the possibility of recourse to the African Peace Facility and EU crisis management tools;
12. Calls for the EU and its Member States to fulfil their commitment to providing a comprehensive range of political, development and humanitarian support to Nigeria and its people in tackling the Boko Haram threat and ensuring the development of the country; urges the EU to continue political dialogue with Nigeria under Article 8 of the revised Cotonou Agreement, and in that context to address issues relating to universal human rights, including freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief, and non‑discrimination on any grounds, as enshrined in universal, regional and national human rights instruments;
13. Regrets the delay in action from EU Member States in setting up a credible and holistic European system for managing the migration routes from sub-Saharan Africa to the Middle East and northern Africa, offering sustainable development solutions to countries of origin, such as Nigeria, and to bring an end to the human tragedies taking place on these routes;
14. Urges the EU to investigate the financing of Boko Haram and to address the transparency of trade in all natural resources, including oil, in order to avoid any fuelling of conflicts by any company; calls on the Nigerian authorities and foreign companies to help strengthen governance in the extractives sector by abiding by the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and publishing what companies pay to the Nigerian Government;
15. Notes with concern increasing attacks on non Muslim farming communities in central Nigeria. Calls on the government of Nigeria to increase efforts to address this issue in a manner that is just, equitable, and that does not leave land that has been seized through violent means in the hands of the perpetrators.
16. Recalls that the Nigerian Government has the right and responsibility to defend its people from terrorism, but insists that such actions must be conducted with respect for human rights and the rule of laws
17. Calls for thorough investigations into allegations of human rights violations, including extrajudicial killings, torture, arbitrary arrest and extortion-related abuses, and believes that such actions cannot be justified as a means of combating the threat posed by Boko Haram or other terrorist organisations; believes that reforms of Nigeria’s judicial system are urgently needed in order to provide effective criminal justice with a view to combating terrorism, as are reforms of the Nigerian state security forces;
18. Asks the Nigerian authorities to take emergency measures in the Niger Delta, including actions to end illegal oil-related activities and to help people exposed to pollution; asks the EU and its Member States to provide technical expertise and resources to assist in restoring the area; asks all companies operating in the region to comply with the highest international standards and to refrain from any action that may take a toll on the environment and on the local communities;
19. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice‑President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Government and Parliament of Nigeria, and the representatives of the Economic Community of West African States and the African Union.