United Nations human rights expert Chaloka Beyani, today strongly condemned the heinous attack against a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Yola, north eastern Nigeria, where some 32,000 IDPs have found refuge. Mr. Beyani expressed his dismay at the targeting of the camp, the first attack of this kind since the escalation of the crisis in northern Nigeria.
On 11 September, at least seven people were killed and 14 others injured, including 4 officials from the National Emergency Management Agency, after the Malkohi IDP camp in Yola, Adamawa State, was the target of a suicide bombing.
“IDPs are amongst the most vulnerable persons and according to international human rights and humanitarian law they must be protected against any direct and indiscriminate attacks or other acts of violence against them or their camps or settlements,” the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons stated.
No party has so far claimed responsibility for the bombing; however, the UN expert stressed that those responsible must be held accountable and brought to justice. While appreciating the Government’s condemnation of the attack, he called for increased security measures where necessary to ensure the protection and human rights of IDPs.
In light of the screening of IDPs by security agencies, Mr. Beyani cautioned that “any security measures must not infringe on IDPs’ human rights, including their freedom of movement and family unity. The vast majority of IDPs are innocent victims and their camps must retain their civilian character.”
The expert also expressed his concern about recent attacks against IDP returnees in the State of Taraba. Over 2.1 million persons have been forced to flee their homes in north eastern Nigeria since the intensification of Boko Haram’s violent insurgency and the declaration of the State of Emergency in May 2013.
“Food insecurity has been worsening combined with the lack of education, safe drinking water and health services,” Mr. Beyani warned, calling for an increase in humanitarian assistance to IDPs and communities hosting them in Northern Nigeria.
“Humanitarian organizations are doing the best they can under very difficult circumstances, but funding shortfalls and insecurity are preventing organizations to reach all those in need.”
The Special Rapporteur reminded all parties of their obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law and standards, including the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement* and the African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa (Kampala Convention).
(*) Check the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/IDPersons/Pages/Standards.aspx
Source: United Nations – Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)