Nigeria: Armed Conflict

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 23rd June 2020.

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Photo of Lisa Cameron Lisa Cameron Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Mental Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to the report published by Amnesty International entitled We dried our tears: addressing the toll on children of Northeast Nigeria's conflict, if he will make it his policy that continued support by the Government for Operation Safe Corridor is conditional on the Nigerian authorities (a) undertaking a full investigation into deaths in the military-run detention centre and (b) taking steps to ensure that the military respects children's rights.

Photo of James Duddridge James Duddridge Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development)

We are concerned by allegations of human rights abuses in Amnesty International's recent report, We Dried Our Tears. The British High Commissioner has raised the report's findings with the Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, calling for a full investigation into the allegations and prosecution of any individuals found to have committed abuses in military detention facilities. The UK Government does not provide any support to the military detention facilities mentioned or provide funding directly to the Government of Nigeria.

We are also concerned by criticisms in the report of Operation Safe Corridor. The programme is run by the Federal Government of Nigeria and is intended to provide defectors from Boko Haram with a voluntary way to disarm and reintegrate with society through de-radicalisation, psychosocial support and livelihood training. By providing a way to disengage from conflict, these programmes are an essential part of peacebuilding but they must fit for purpose and conducted in a way that fully respects human rights.

The UK, alongside the US and EU, provides funding to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) to assist in the reintegration element of the Operation Safe Corridor. All UK Government programme spend is subject to regular monitoring and review. We are urgently following up points raised in the report with IOM, in particular in relation to the process for screening participants, the conditions in which they are detained and the timeline for rehabilitation. IOM have assured us that no children are currently enrolled. The UK's position on human rights is clear: they are universal and must apply equally to all people. The UK will continue to call on all parties to the conflict in North East Nigeria to respect human rights, including the rights of children, and abide by international humanitarian and human rights law.

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