Sunday 25th September, 2016
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Giwa Town massacre: Amnesty Int'l to protest in Nigerian embassies

Giwa Town massacre: Amnesty Int'l to protest in Nigerian embassies

Two years after 640 recap­tured detainees were alleg­edly massacred by soldiers in Giwa Town, Borno State, Am­nesty International (AI) will from today stage protests in Nigerian embassies abroad.
The group accused the Feder­al Government of failing to con­duct an effective, impartial and independent investigation into the killings.
The detainees-men and boys, were arbitrarily arrested in mass screening operations, killed after they fled the barracks in Maidu­guri, Borno State on March 14, 2014 following a Boko Haram at­tack. Majority of them were shot while others had their throats slit.
To mark the anniversary of the massacre, Amnesty Interna­tional said that its campaigners would be gathering today (Mon­day) outside Nigerian embassies around the world to call for an independent investigation and prosecution of the perpetrators.
According to AI’s Interna­tional Research and Advocacy Director for Africa, Netsanet Be­lay, “It is shocking that two years after these horrific killings, there have been no justice for the vic­tims and their relatives.
“The lack of an independent investigation has meant that no one has been held to account for the killings, strengthening an al­ready pervasive culture of im­punity within the military,” the group said.
Amnesty International has extensively documented the events of March 14, 2014, in­terviewing dozens of witnesses, verifying video evidence of the killings and their aftermath and confirming the locations of mass graves through satellite imagery.
In June 2015, Amnesty Inter­national published extensive evi­dence of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity com­mitted by the Nigerian military.
The report found that the military extra-judicially execut­ed at least 1,200 men and boys, and almost certainly many more, between 2012 and 2014.
A further 7,000 detainees died in military detention as a result of starvation thirst, dis­ease, torture and a lack of medi­cal attention. Torture is routinely and systematically used by secu­rity forces in Nigeria, both during arrest and in detention.
It claimed that soldiers arbi­trarily arrested more than 20,000 suspects since 2011 and detained the overwhelming majority of them without access to their fam­ilies or lawyers, without formal charges and without ever bring­ing them to court.
Amnesty International has repeatedly called on the Govern­ment of Nigeria to initiate inde­pendent and effective investiga­tions into its evidence of crimes under international law and to implement critical safeguards against human rights violations.
“Yet, despite repeated prom­ises by President Muhammadu Buhari and his government that Amnesty International’s report would be looked into, no con­crete steps have been taken to be­gin independent investigations. Many safeguards remain absent, for example, suspects contin­ue to be held in military deten­tion without access to their law­yers or families, without charge and without being brought be­fore a judge.
“After more than nine months in office, President Bu­hari must take urgent action to provide justice for the conflict’s thousands of victims and prevent such violations occurring again,” Belay said
Belay added that, “In the two years since the Giwa killings, the pattern of unjustified use of le­thal force by the military has continued with no one held ac­countable.
“From Giwa to Zaria, from the North East to the South East, the time has come to break the cycle of impunity that has gripped Nigeria. This should start with justice for the Giwa 640.”
Amnesty International has consistently documented and condemned human rights abus­es and violations by armed group Boko Haram and the Ni­gerian military, including pub­lishing reports each year since 2012. In April 2015, Amnes­ty International published a re­port which found that Boko Har­am has committed war crimes and crimes against humanity. It called on Boko Haram to end its campaign of violence against ci­vilians and on the government to bring Boko Haram members to justice.
Amnesty International pub­lished evidence of the killing of recaptured detainees after the Giwa barracks attack in a re­port on 31 March 2014. The re­port was based on dozens of in­terviews with residents, lawyers, human rights defenders and hos­pital staff in various locations in and around Maiduguri. The re­port also included satellite im­agery analysis that confirmed the existence of several mass graves that appeared in the area shortly after the executions.
On August 5, 2014, Amnesty International published analysis of a shocking video evidence of soldiers cutting the throats of re-arrested detainees outside Maid­uguri after the Giwa barracks at­tack.
Amnesty International also called on the government to launch a comprehensive, inde­pendent, impartial and effective investigation into the crimes un­der international law.
It further demanded the es­tablishment of an independent and effective investigative pan­el to examine evidence against individuals suspected of crimes under international law and to prepare cases for prosecution by an independent prosecutori­al authority.
Amnesty also charged the government to ensure further reform of the military’s operat­ing procedures to ensure non-re­currence of such violations.
Lastly, it said the government must work with the National As­sembly to bring Nigeria’s domes­tic laws in line with international human rights standard.

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