New York

22 May 2015

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on Boko Haram attacks and the impact on civilian populations

The Secretary-General is deeply troubled by the continuing indiscriminate and horrific attacks by Boko Haram against civilian populations in Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria.
He regrets that in spite of the military gains made by the affected countries, Boko Haram continues its wanton destruction and killing of civilians.

The Secretary-General is appalled by the continued abductions and use of children as “human bombs”, as well as by testimony that many of the girls and women held by Boko Haram were repeatedly raped while in captivity and compelled to marry their captors as part of a campaign of forced imprisonment and sexual violence. The perpetrators of these despicable acts must be brought to justice. He calls on the Government of Nigeria to scale up the provision of medical and psychosocial support to the survivors.

The Secretary-General is also deeply concerned over the further displacement of some 40,000 civilians in Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria in the last three weeks. He urges members of the Lake Chad Basin Commission and Benin to advance the operationalization of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF), and create a secure environment for the safe and voluntary return, resettlement or integration of displaced persons and refugees.

The Secretary-General again urges the states involved to ensure that all measures taken to address the terrorist threat of Boko Haram are conducted in line with international humanitarian, human rights and refugee law. To be remotely effective, the response to this threat has to go beyond a purely military one.  Legitimate grievances, past and current human rights violations, and the root causes of the conflict must also be addressed.