Reiterating its strong condemnation of terrorist attacks, human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law by Boko Haram in the Lake Chad Basin region, the Security Council today stressed the need to bring to justice those responsible.
In a statement issued by Gerard Jacobus van Bohemen (New Zealand), Council President for July, the 15-member body described terrorism in all its forms and manifestations as one of the most serious threats to international peace and security and reaffirmed that such acts, including those by Boko Haram, could not and should not be associated with any religion, nationality or civilization.
Acknowledging the progress made on the ground following joint regional military efforts in recent months, the Council encouraged the Economic Community of Central African States and the Economic Community of West African States in coordination with the African Union Commission to accelerate efforts to adopt a comprehensive strategy to more effectively and urgently combat the threat posed by Boko Haram.
Member States must ensure that any measures taken in that regard complied with their obligations under international law, the Council stressed, reaffirming the need for all parties to armed conflict to respect the principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence. The Council expressed its readiness to consider listing individuals, groups, undertaking and entities providing support to Boko Haram, designated as associated with Al-Qaida by the Committee established pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1989 (2011).
Addressing the Council, Mahamat Zene Cherif (Chad) said Boko Haram had increased its horrific attacks against civilians in the riparian States of Lake Chad, with incalculable impact. Countries of the region had spared no effort to effectively confront the threat, he said, pointing out that in a few days, a Joint Multinational Task Force would become operational and ready to fight Boko Haram.
Mr. Cherif said it was essential to take into account issues of socioeconomic development and urged the international community to target its support towards the restoration of communities most affected in order to facilitate the rapid return and reintegration of refugees. “Boko Haram has been weakened but remains a serious threat,” he said, noting that the countries involved in the Joint Task Force would not be able to take on the burden alone and required the support of the international community.
The meeting began at 10:15 a.m. and ended at 10:22 a.m.
The full text of presidential statement S/PRST/2015/14 reads as follows:
“The Security Council recalls its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.
“The Security Council reaffirms Member States’ determination to continue to do all they can to resolve conflict and to deny terrorist groups the ability to put down roots and establish safe havens to address better the growing threat posed by terrorism.
“The Security Council stresses that terrorism can only be defeated by a sustained and comprehensive approach involving the active participation and collaboration of all States and international, regional and subregional organizations to counter the terrorist threat.
“The Security Council affirms that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security, and that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whosoever committed. The Security Council expresses its concern at the continued threat posed to international peace and security by Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'awati Wal-Jihad (also known as “Boko Haram” and hereinafter referred to as such) and all other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with Al-Qaida, reaffirms its resolve to address all aspects of that threat, and reaffirms that terrorism, including the actions of the Boko Haram terrorist group, cannot and should not be associated with any religion, nationality, or civilization.
“The Security Council reiterates its strong condemnation of all the terrorist attacks, abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law by Boko Haram in the Lake Chad Basin region, recognizes that women and girls are particularly targeted by Boko Haram, expresses its deep sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims as well as to the peoples and Governments of Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured.
“The Security Council recalls that those responsible for abuses and violations of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law must be held accountable and brought to justice.
“The Security Council takes note of the Communiqué of the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) of 25 November 2014 on the threat posed by Boko Haram and the efforts of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) Member States (Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria) and Benin to combat Boko Haram. The Security Council further takes note of the Letter sent by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) to the United Nations Secretary-General on 6 March 2015, forwarding the Communiqués adopted by the AUPSC on 29 January and 3 March 2015, as well as the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) Strategic Concept of Operations (CONOPS) to fight against Boko Haram.
“The Security Council, while acknowledging the progress made on the ground following joint regional military efforts in recent months, condemns strongly the continued deadly attacks perpetrated by the Boko Haram terrorist group, particularly against civilians, and encourages increased regional cooperation.
“The Security Council commends the LCBC Member States and Benin for their continued efforts to fully operationalize the MNJTF in order to collectively enhance regional military cooperation and coordination to more effectively combat the threat posed by the Boko Haram terrorist group to the Lake Chad Basin region. In this respect, the Security Council notes the establishment of the Operational Headquarters (HQ) in N’Djamena, Chad, as per the Conclusions of the 5th Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defense of the LCBC Member States of 20 January 2015, and also notes the inauguration of the said HQ in N’Djamena, Chad, on 25 May 2015, in which the following participated: the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, Smail Chergui, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA), Mohamed Ibn Chambas, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), Abdoulaye Bathily, the Executive Secretary of the LCBC, Sanusi Imran Abdullahi, and the Chadian Minister delegate at the Presidency of the Republic in charge of National Defense and Veterans Affairs, Benaindo Tatola.
“The Security Council takes note of the final communiqué adopted by the Extraordinary Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the LCBC Member States and Benin, held in Abuja, Nigeria, on 11 June 2015, including the decisions to approve the strategic and operational Concepts of Operations and other related documents for the MNJTF; the deployment of national contingents to the MNJTF under the operational command of the MNJTF Force Commander by 30 July 2015; the designation of the Executive Secretary of the LCBC as the Head of Mission; and the nomination of the Force Commander, Deputy Force Commander and Chief of Staff of the MNJTF.
“The Security Council reaffirms that Member States must ensure that any measures taken to counter terrorism comply with all their obligations under international law, in particular international human rights law, international refugee law, and international humanitarian law.
“The Security Council encourages the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), in coordination with the AUC, to accelerate joint efforts to adopt a comprehensive strategy to more effectively and urgently combat the threat posed by Boko Haram, and, in this regard, welcomes plans to convene a summit in August and urges the two subregional organizations to adopt a common strategy and develop active cooperation and coordination.
“The Security Council acknowledges the economic burden borne by the Boko Haram-affected countries and welcomes the continuing commitment of Member States and international partners participating in support of the MNJTF in combatting the Boko Haram terrorist group.
“The Security Council notes the steps being taken by the AUC to provide the support necessary for the full operationalization of the MNJTF in line with the relevant provisions of the MNJTF CONOPS to fight against Boko Haram.
“The Security Council calls upon the international community and donors to support the MNJTF, particularly its operational capability, and welcomes in this regard the AUC plans to organize a donors’ conference in support of the efforts of the LCBC Member States and Benin. The Security Council invites the Secretary-General to support the AUC plans for a donors’ conference, calls on Member States to contribute generously to the AU Trust Fund and requests the Secretary-General to advocate strongly with the international community and donors in support of this effort.
“The Security Council stresses the need to complement the joint regional military and security operations against the Boko Haram terrorist group by sustained national and regional efforts, with international support, to improve livelihoods, provide humanitarian assistance to IDPs, refugees, and other conflict-affected populations, promote education and job creation, facilitate stabilization efforts and economic recovery, prevent illicit trafficking of weapons to armed groups and criminal networks as well as ensure the protection of human rights, particularly those of women and children. In this respect, it notes the adoption, by the 11 June 2015 Extraordinary Summit of the LCBC Member States and Benin, of the Emergency Plan for Development in the Lake Chad Basin and commends efforts by Member States and international organizations to extend all the necessary support to address the development challenges in the Lake Chad Basin region, and invites the United Nations, its Secretariat, and particularly its relevant agencies, funds and programmes, to work with the AUC to identify practical steps through which it could contribute to these efforts.
“The Security Council is concerned with the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Lake Chad Basin countries, with close to 1.9 million people forcibly displaced in the region. The Security Council takes note of the efforts of the Governments of affected countries in responding to the regional humanitarian needs generated by the actions of Boko Haram. The Security Council reaffirms the need for all parties to armed conflict to respect the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence in order to ensure the provision of humanitarian assistance, the safety of civilians receiving assistance and the security of humanitarian personnel and United Nations and its associated personnel. It recalls that States bear the primary responsibility to respect and ensure the human rights of their citizens, as well as all individuals within their territory as provided for by relevant international law. It calls on the Member States contributing to the MNJTF to create a secure environment conducive for the civilian-led delivery of humanitarian assistance and the voluntary, safe and sustainable return, resettlement or local integration of IDPs and refugees. The Security Council encourages all actors involved in the response to support recovery programmes and the provision of the necessary protection measures for civilians, and to pay particular attention to the release and reintegration of children abducted by Boko Haram or formerly associated with this terrorist group.
“The Security Council recalls that Boko Haram has been designated as associated with Al-Qaida by the Committee established pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1989 (2011) and in this regard, expresses its readiness to consider listing individuals, groups, undertakings and entities providing support to Boko Haram, including those who are financing, arming, planning or recruiting for Boko Haram and all other individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with Al-Qaida through information and communications technologies including the Internet and social media or through any other means.”