GENEVA (12 March 2010) – The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination called on the Nigerian authorities to tackle the underlying causes of the repeated outbreaks of ethnic and religious violence near the city of Jos in northern Nigeria. Over the last ten years, over 13,500 people have died in recurring acts of violence resulting from tensions between ethno-religious groups in the country.
“Ethnic hatred must not be allowed to foment in Nigeria,” said Friday human rights expert Anwar Kemal, in his capacity as Chairperson of the Committee, urging the government of Nigeria “to take all the appropriate measures to immediately stop the ethnic violence, to protect the victims; and to avoid the repetition of such killings in the future.”
The Committee, which has just concluded its 76th session in Geneva, is alarmed by reports of recent attacks and killings of a large number of persons, including children, women and elderly, near the city of Jos in January and March 2010.
In a decision* passed this week under its early warning and urgent action procedure, the UN expert body also urged Nigeria to investigate the massacres, bring to justice those responsible and to provide redress to the victims and their families.
Among its recommendations, the Committee called on all local, regional and national authorities in Nigeria to study the underlying causes of the ethnic violence in the country; to firmly address all underlying causes of tension leading to this repeated violence, and to promote dialogue between different ethnic communities in view to achieve tolerance and peace.
The UN group of independent experts drew attention to the fact that Nigeria has ratified the International Convention on the Elimination of Alls Forms of Racial Discrimination, and is under the obligation to prevent and protect persons against acts of hatred, incitement to racial and ethnic violence or any form of violence based on ethnicity.