The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said ISIS-aligned Boko Haram can be fought by addressing “profound inequalities” in Nigerian society and the “resulting marginalization.”
Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein argued to the Human Rights Council in Geneva that the terrorists need more economic, social and political opportunities to not be terrorists.
Just days ago, the terrorist group reportedly decapitated with chainsaws or burned to death 23 villagers, according to German news agency DPA.
The Jordanian prince told the Human Rights Council that his office has tallied more than 15,000 deaths since Boko Haram began its campaign of attacks in earnest in 2009.
“This despicable and wanton carnage, which constitutes a clear and urgent menace for development, peace and security, must be stopped,” said Zeid. “Boko Haram’s leaders must know that they will be held accountable in a court of law for these appalling violations of human rights.”
He warned that Boko Haram is spreading “bloodshed and desolation even more widely” and the crisis is “fast growing to very disturbing regional dimensions.”
He suggested getting to the roots of conflict by studying what is needed to build a more inclusive society.
“Vanquishing this threat to peace will require sustained attention that extends beyond the use of military force. Strengthening the rule of law, repealing discriminatory legislation, and implementing inclusive and non-discriminatory policies must be part of the response to the violations committed by Boko Haram,” Zeid said. “We must also reflect on some of the possible root causes of this insurgency.”
The State Department didn’t add Boko Haram to its list of terrorist organizations until November 2013 — on the eve of Nigerian activists coming to Congress to testify about Boko Haram’s crimes and demand the terrorist designation. Emmanuel Ogebe, a Nigerian lawyer and human rights activist, said “part of the State Department’s response has been to deny the religious motivation of a rabid jihadist group that has repeatedly declared its goal of overthrowing the state and establishing a radical Muslim theocracy; to downplay the repeated threats to America going back several years by claiming this is all ‘local’; presenting arguments rationalizing terrorism by psycho-analyzing the emotional disconnect between the central government and northern Muslims who fuel the terrorism.”
Boko Haram formally pledged allegiance to ISIS in an audio recording released nearly a month ago, saying their vow represents “the completeness of the religion with the book that guides and the sword that favors.”
Boko Haram also made the move, leader Abubakr Shekau said, to “enrage the enemy of Allah” by “our gathering under one banner,” with more “enemy mortality.”
The latest issue of ISIS’ Dabiq magazine, released this week, lauds Boko Haram’s declaration “on the heels of a widely successful campaign being waged by the mujahidin across Nigeria and into neighboring regions.”
“Despite crusader hostility… the mujahidin carried the banner of tawhid, calling to the truth, clashing with the people of falsehood, and exacting revenge on the crusaders and apostates, until Allah’s decree came and the mujahidin were granted authority in the land. They implemented His Shariah, established the prayer, commanded the good, and forbade the evil… they continue upon this path today under the banner of the Khilafah, even as the forces of kufr redouble their efforts to stop their advance across West Africa.”