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Quit Notice: UN Committee Wants Nigeria To Protect Igbos in the North


Ninety-third session, 31 July- 25 August 2017




The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, meeting in Geneva at its Ninety-third session from 31 July to 25 August 2017,

Acting under its Early Warning and Urgent Action Procedure,

Highly concerned by the rise of racist hate speech and incitement to violence against the Igbo people, including through the recording and wide distribution of a song and audio message in Hausa language which describe the Igbos in hateful and derogatory terms;

Alarmed by the public ultimatum issued by a number of northern youth groups, forums, and coalitions on 6 June 2017 calling all Igbos in northern Nigeria to leave their homes by 1 October 2017, even though it may have been recently withdrawn;

While taking note of the information that some national and local officials have publicly condemned hate speech and incitement to hatred or violence, the Committee remains concerned at reports that other local elders and leaders have endorsed the ultimatum and expressed their support for such racist hate speech targeting and threatening the Igbos;

Deeply worried by the information that some Igbo families have already started moving out from their villages and homes in northern Nigeria to avoid any possible harm to their personal integrity;

Aware of the tragic consequences of past conflicts among ethnic groups, including the Igbo, in the State party;

Noting that Nigeria is a Member State of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and of the African Union as well as a State party to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights;

Recalling the provisions enshrined in the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, and its general recommendation No. 35 (2013) on combatting racist hate speech;

1. Calls upon the State party to increase its efforts in systematically rejecting and condemning, including by high-level and local public officials and leaders, any form of racist hate speech, incitement to hatred and violence, and the dissemination of ideas of ethnic superiority;

2. Recommends that the State party take immediate action to stop and prevent the continued circulation and dissemination of the hateful song and audio message mentioned above;

3. Urges the State party to exercise due diligence to halt, prevent and investigate acts of racist hate speech and incitement to hatred and violence against the Igbo people, in accordance with international human rights standards, with a view to bringing perpetrators to justice, punishing them adequately if convicted, and compensating victims;

4. Recommends that the State party ensure the protection of all its citizens from ethnic hatred, and take effective measures to ensure that Igbo people can fully exercise their rights stipulated in the Convention, including the right to security of person and protection against violence or bodily harm, the right to freedom of movement and residence, and the right to own property;

5. Urges all local and national authorities in Nigeria to promptly and firmly address the underlying causes of the ethnic tensions in Nigeria, with a view to avoiding repeated ethnic-based violence, and to promote intercultural dialogue between different ethnic groups based on diversity, respect, and inclusiveness;

6. Invites the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to draw the attention of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union to the human rights situation of the Igbo in northern Nigeria.

2584th meeting

25 August 2017

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