Lagos - A United States official welcomed measures taken by Nigeria to curb the violation of human rights by uniformed forces during operations to eliminate Boko Haram.
Steven Feldstein, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour, said the government now recognised that it would not defeat Boko Haram as long as civilians feel threatened by security forces.
“It has started to institute real reforms to ensure the military adheres to international human right standards and builds trust with civilian populations,” said Feldstein said.
He noted success would not be instantaneous.
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“This is a long process that will not bring results overnight,” said Feldstein.
He said uniformed forces in the region were upholding humans’ rights.
“Militaries are increasingly recognizing that committing gross human rights violations is not a smart way to win a war, and not a great way to build support among civilian populations and affected communities,” he said.
“If communities don’t trust the military, then they will refuse to cooperate. They won’t provide vital information about the enemy, and they may offer safe haven and resources to insurgents. This ultimately makes restoring peace and stability impossible,” Feldstein added.
There have been reports the uniformed forces were violating the rights of civilians but these were denied.
- CAJ News