Nigeria/ IDP Camp Bombing: This Tragedy Should Never Have Happened � UN Expert Urges Greater Protection

| January 19, 2017

The new United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons (IDPs), Cecilia Jimenez-Damary, today expressed dismay at the bombing of a camp housing internally displaced persons in Borno state in the troubled northeast region of Nigeria, in which a counter insurgency against Boko Haram is being waged.

Initial reports from the Government-run IDP camp in Rann, near the borders with Cameroon and Chad, state that over 50 people had been killed in the incident, described by officials as an 'operational mistake', and more than 200 injured, with the death toll including several humanitarian workers and expected to rise in the coming days.

This tragedy should never have happened and brings into stark focus the perilous situation that many internally displaced persons continue to experience in this region of Nigeria,rdquo; the human rights expert said. The safety of IDPs must be guaranteed.rdquo;

It is imperative that those affected have immediate lifesaving assistance, medical care or be evacuated without delay, as well as access to food and water and all other necessary assistance and support,rdquo; she stressed.

The Special Rapporteur also called for a full investigation into the incident and the adoption of urgent measures to ensure the future safety of those IDPs and other communities remaining in the area, including consideration of their evacuation to safe locations if necessary.rdquo;

The expert described as troubling indications that humanitarian actors may not have had full access to the area for months, in order to assess the humanitarian and protection situation in a region deeply affected by the Boko Haram insurgency and counter-insurgency measures.

I urge the Government to ensure full and unhindered access to humanitarian organisations to the region and all locations in which IDPs and other vulnerable civilian populations are living,rdquo; she said, while acknowledging security concerns.

Ms. Jimenez-Damary emphasized that the Government of Nigeria has the primary responsibility to protect internally displaced persons, who are among the most vulnerable, in line with the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement.

The Special Rapporteur, whose predecessor, Chaloka Beyani, and also highlighted his concern about the situation of thousands of IDPs when he visited the region in August 2016, offered her support to the Government to help improve its responses to the displacement crisis, and urged it to work in full cooperation with its international partners to ensure that all necessary steps are taken to protect IDPs.

While noting the expressions of regret by the Government of Nigeria, including President Muhammadu Buhari, Ms. Jimenez-Damary, conveyed her deep sadness at the loss of life.

Source: United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG).

Category: Human Rights

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