UN rights chief: Boko Haram murders ′wives′, uses children as ′cannon fodder′ | News | DW | 01.04.2015
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UN rights chief: Boko Haram murders 'wives', uses children as 'cannon fodder'

Some African states have called upon the international community to intensify their response to Boko Haram. The head of the UNHRC told a rare special session of the body about the atrocities committed by the jihadists.

Some African states have called upon the international community to intensify their response to Boko Haram. The head of the UNHRC told a rare special session of the body about the atrocities committed by the jihadists.

In a special session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Wednesday, several African countries called on the global community to step up its support of nations facing attacks byIslamist militants Boko Haram, who are accused of a litany of atrocities.

A draft resolution presented to the UN's top rights body asked member countries to provide "active and multifaceted support to Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Nigeria and other states affected by actions of the terrorist group Boko Haram."

Pierre Buyoya, a representative of the African Union, called Boko Haram "a global threat," that poses a danger even outside the region where they are active. Their insurgency has claimed the lives of at least 15,000 people since 2009, said UNHCR head Zeid Raad al-Hussein (pictured above).

Zeid told those gathered at the session of the "despicable and wanton carnage" Boko Haram leaves in its wake, including the use of children as "cannon fodder" and the regular murders of their "so-called ‘wives' - in fact, women and girls held in slavery." If confirmed, these acts would constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity, he added.

The rights chief said he was also "profoundly concerned about the growing ethnic and sectarian dimensions of the conflict," saying local governments were arresting ethnic Kanuris at whim because Boko Haram's founder comes from the Kanuri ethnic group. Zeid warned that in turn Boko Haram was becoming suspicious of ethnic groups perceived to support the Nigerian government, thus risking a rapid escalation of the conflict.

On a positive note, Zeid hailed the "peaceful" election in Nigeria, and the voter turnout despite threats from Boko Haram to attack polling stations.

es/jil (AP, AFP)

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