Stop Killing Shi’ites, Human Rights Watch Warns FG
Human Rights Watch on Wednesday called for an end to the killing of members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria.
The organization also referred the Federal Government to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights General Comment on the Right to Life, which states that firearms should never be used to disperse an assembly.
The charter also prohibits the intentional lethal use of force by law enforcement officials, unless it is strictly unavoidable in order to protect lives where all other means are insufficient to achieve the objective.
The international human rights organization called on international partners providing military assistance to Nigeria to press the authorities to respect human rights and ensure that anyone responsible for unlawful violence and for killing Shi’ites faces justice in an open and fair trial.
In the report, HRW said the Federal Government had failed to ensure justice for the killings of hundreds of Shi’ites since 2015.
On December 12, 2015, the Nigeria Army had reportedly used disproportionate force against the Shi’ites’ as they embarked on a street procession in Zaria, Kaduna State, to clear a route for the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai.
However, in an ensuing three-day violent crackdown, the army reportedly killed 347 members of the group and arrested hundreds more, including the group’s leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, and his wife, Ibraheemat.
The couple has since been placed in the detention of the Department of State Services, despite several court rulings granting their release.
The Shi’ites group has also alleged crackdowns on its activities and protests in Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Yobe, Plateau and Sokoto states as well as in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, resulting in the death of at least 110 people.
HRW said, “The repression against the IMN Shia Muslim group by government security forces risks creating grievances that could worsen Nigeria’s already precarious security situation.
“The increasing spate of protests by the group is a cry for justice that authorities would do well to heed. The authorities should end impunity for the disproportionately violent Zaria attacks, carry out a speedy and independent investigation into subsequent crackdowns on protests, and hold anyone found responsible for using unlawful force to account.”
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