An official website of the United States government

U.S. Statement at Special Session of the HRC on Boko Haram
April 1, 2015

Special Session on Boko Haram

Statement and Questions by the United States of America

Delivered by Ambassador Harper, U.S. Delegation

Human Rights Council Special Session

Geneva – April 1, 2015


Thank you Mr. President.

The United States is pleased to be part of the Special Session today on the human rights situation in areas impacted by Boko Haram-related violence.

The United States joins in condemning the shocking atrocities being committed in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, and Niger by Boko Haram.  These atrocities include: killing of civilians, razing of villages, the deliberate targeting of civilians, kidnappings, and unprovoked violence against men, women, and children in their homes, schools, places of worship, and businesses.  Boko Haram’s brutality and barbarism are without bounds.  We strongly condemn these horrific acts, which continue to show the group’s total disregard for the sanctity of human life.

But their barbarism will not have the impact Boko Haram desires.  Its brutality will instead stiffen our resolve.  As we see today at the Council, Boko Haram’s inhumanity will unite us, the world community.

The United States stands with and continues to provide support to the governments and peoples of this region in the face of this threat.  We urge all parties to respect human rights and comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law.  Lasting stability and real security require the protection of human rights, including independent judiciaries that uphold the rule of law and police and security forces that respect human rights, including freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly.  We also urge the Governments of Niger, Chad, Cameroon, and Nigeria to investigate all allegations of human rights violations by security services and hold accountable those responsible.  The United States commends the efforts by the Governments of Chad and Cameroon to investigate alleged violations and abuses in areas impacted by Boko Haram-related violence.

The Lake Chad Basin countries have scored some important recent military successes, ousting Boko Haram from areas it had controlled.  We urge Nigeria to build forward momentum in the regional campaign against Boko Haram by engaging police and civil administration to restore stability and rule of law in liberated areas.  This will enable development and job creation, which are essential to breaking the cycle of violence.

The challenges facing Nigeria and others in the region are vast. Such challenges will require robust support from the international community.  We believe it essential that all citizens – from all religions, all ethnic groups, and all regions – must stand united to secure their nations’ progress.

The United States looks forward to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Right’s reporting on human rights in the countries affected by Boko Haram and supports all efforts to advance the security, prosperity and human rights of all citizens in the region.

Thank you Mr. President.