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12.4.2016 - (2016/2649(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

Marietje Schaake, Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea, Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, Ilhan Kyuchyuk, Petras Auštrevičius, Pavel Telička, Marielle de Sarnez, Valentinas Mazuronis, Ivo Vajgl, Filiz Hyusmenova, Martina Dlabajová, Ramon Tremosa i Balcells, Nedzhmi Ali, Dita Charanzová, José Inácio Faria, Fredrick Federley, Nathalie Griesbeck, Antanas Guoga, Marian Harkin, Ivan Jakovčić, Petr Ježek, Louis Michel, Maite Pagazaurtundúa Ruiz, Jozo Radoš, Frédérique Ries, Robert Rochefort, Hannu Takkula, Carolina Punset, Johannes Cornelis van Baalen, Hilde Vautmans, Paavo Väyrynen, Javier Nart, Gérard Deprez, on behalf of the ALDE Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0478/2016

Procedūra : 2016/2649(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on Nigeria


The European Parliament,

-having regard to its previous resolutions on Nigeria,

-having regard to President Buhari’s address at the EP in Strasbourg on 03 February 2016 ,

-having regard to the recommendations of the EU EOM Nigeria 2015 final report of July 2015,

-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 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, adopted on 29 May 1999 and in particular its Articles 10[1] and 15.2,[2]

-having regard to the Cotonou Agreement of 2000 and its 2005 and 20010 revisions, the later ratified by Nigeria on 27 September 2010,

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

-having regard to Rule 135 of its procedure,

A.whereas Nigeria is the most populous nation in Africa with 185 million inhabitants; whereas Nigeria is a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual and multi-religious country;

B.whereas in spite of its vast oil resources and economic potential, Nigeria faces a number of economic challenges and Nigeria’s rank on the Human Development Index is 0.459 (the average for Africa is 0.463) placing it in 56th position out of the 187 countries ranked; whereas the country was ranked 151 out of 162 countries scored on the 2015 Global Peace Index and occupied the 14th position on the 2015 Fragile State Index;

C.whereas more than 6 out of 10 Nigerians live on less than $2 a day, whereas this extreme poverty is even more acute in the northern states which are the least developed in the country; whereas this poverty contributes directly to a social divide, religious hostility and regional division;

D.Whereas the systematic existence of corruption exacerbates the already severe poverty and unequal distribution of resources;

E.whereas religious violence and ethnic conflict date back to as early as British colonial rule of the territory of Nigeria, whereas the Biafra War from July 1967 to January 1970, instead of unifying the country, accentuated the religious dimension to the numerous clashes which subsequently took place; whereas these conflicts involved cattle herders belonging to nomadic ethnic groups (Hausa, Fulani, Borno) came from the North but had fled desertification and drought; whereas, on moving South, these nomadic groups came into conflict with sedentary farmers over land rights, especially in the eastern part of the country’s Middle Belt;

F.whereas inter-religious conflicts are partially overlapping the struggle over land rights, resources and power which are endemic in the country; whereas Boko Haram, heir to previous violent extremist groups, has emerged to become a branch of Daesh;

G.whereas Boko Haram has targeted without discrimination churches, mosques, houses, civilians, children and women, spreading death and destruction both in Nigeria and in the neighbouring countries of Niger, Chad and Cameroon;

H.whereas since the emergence of the Boko Haram insurgency its targeted actions against schoolboys and schoolgirls in the area have deprived children of access to education, with the figure of 10.5 million children of primary school age in Nigeria not attending school being the highest in the world, according to UNESCO figures; whereas, like al-Shabaab in Somalia, AQIM, MUJAO and Ansar Dine in North Mali and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Boko Haram targets children and women who receive an education;

I.whereas Boko Haram has abducted more than 2 000 women and girls since 2009, including the kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls from Chibok on 14 April 2014; whereas two years later, more than 200 of the girls captured in that incident have still not been found; whereas many more children have since gone missing;

J.whereas Boko Haram has forced abducted women and girls to engage in suicide attacks;

K.whereas a number of the abducted women and girls who have escaped or have been rescued or freed return home pregnant and in dire need of reproductive and maternal health care, and others lack access to basic post-rape health screening, post-traumatic care, social support and rape counselling, according to HRW; whereas the Commission has stated that where pregnancy causes unbearable suffering women must have access to the full range of sexual and reproductive health services based on their medical condition, therefore asserting that international humanitarian law shall in any case prevail;

L.whereas Boko Haram has abducted, recruited and deployed child soldiers in Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon;

M.whereas despite advances by Nigerian and regional armed forces, increasing attacks and suicide bombings extending beyond the border into neighbouring countries threaten stability and the livelihood of millions of people throughout the entire region; whereas children are in critical danger on account of the deteriorating humanitarian situation, with worsening food insecurity combined with poor access to education, safe drinking water and health services;

N.whereas the UN estimates that the violence in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states has recently resulted in the number of internally displaced people increasing dramatically to 2.1 million, 58% of whom are children, according to IOM; whereas 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;

O.whereas Boko Haram is mainly found in the North of the country where 12 States had already enforced Sharia law since 1999 and where Christians are at risk of violent persecution, marginalization and discrimination;

P.whereas despite the fact that most of Boko Haram's victims are local people belonging to the Islamic faith, Christians are also systematically targeted;

Q.whereas the violent extremist group has also extended farther south, in particular into the Plateau and Taraba States;

R.whereas the Boko Haram anti-Christian campaign since 2009 has rekindled religious antagonisms among nomadic herders mostly belonging to the Islamic faith; whereas underlying territorial disputes have exploded into violent clashes and deliberate attacks;

1.Strongly condemns the use of violence and terror tactics by violent extremist groups such as Boko Haram, and expresses its sympathy with the victims and their families;

2.expresses its great concern in respect of inter-ethnic conflicts between cattle herders and farmers in the Middle-Belt area, notably in Plateau and Taraba States, disputes over land and grazing rights which have caused thousands killed in that region since 2014;

3.recalls that President Buhari was elected on the promise of defeating violent extremism such as by Boko Haram, which has pledged allegiance to Daesh; urges the President to abide also by campaign promises to make respect for human rights and humanitarian law a central pillar of military operations, bringing back the Chibok girls and all other abducted women and children alive and unharmed, addressing the ever growing problem of malnutrition, and fighting corruption and impunity in order to deter future abuses and work towards justice for every victim;

4.welcomes the investigations into cases of corruption and calls for more serious efforts to end impunity even at the highest level;

5.welcomes the recent announcement by the Commission of additional funds to boost urgent humanitarian aid to the region; expresses, however, serious concerns 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;

6.calls on the EEAS and the European Commission to work with the Nigerian authorities to support counter terrorism efforts while respecting human rights and the rule of law;

7.notes that Boko Haram rejected the offer by President Buhari to consider an amnesty should Boko Haram release all the “Chibok girls”; strongly condemns the practice of Boko Haram to force abducted women and girls into suicide bombers;

8.underlines that even after Boko Haram will be defeated, the problems encountered by people living under Sharia law remains; calls on federal authorities to deal with this challenge in accordance with Articles 10 and 15.2 of the Nigerian Constitution and in line with international human rights law;

9.urges the international community to help Nigeria and the neighbouring countries who host refugees and displaces persons (Cameroon, Chad and Niger) to provide all necessary medical and psychological assistance to those in need;

10.appeals to the authorities in the sub-region to ensure ease of access to the full range of sexual and reproductive health services for women and girls who have been raped, in accordance with the common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions; stresses the need to implement a universal standard for the treatment of war rape victims and to ensure the primacy of international humanitarian law in situations of armed conflict; expresses its full sympathy with women and children who have survived the blind terrorism perpetrated by Boko Haram; calls for the establishment of specialised education programmes aimed at women and children who are victims of war and society as a whole, to help them overcome the terror experienced, to give appropriate and comprehensive information, to combat stigmas and social exclusion and to help them become valued members of society;

11.welcomes the CONCUR (Conciliation in Nigeria through Community-Based Conflict Management and Cooperative Use of Resources) programme with a view to helping farmers and herders resolve land controversies peacefully and to identifying new forms of economic organisation that will allow them to exist side by side peacefully;

12.instructs the 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 Member States, the Government and Parliament of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the representatives of ECOWAS, the Council of the African Union and the Secretary General of the UN.