Canada Called to Investigate Human Rights Abuses in Nigeria

Washington DC / Ottawa – 28 April 2023 | Impunity enjoyed by militant criminal gangs, extrajudicial executions, violence perpetrated by non-state actors towards Christians and others in Nigeria’s Middle Belt, growing number of internally displaced persons, food insecurity, arbitrary detention of victims of anti-blasphemy laws, the death penalty, sexual and gender-based violence, genocidal violence toward individuals because of their religious beliefs or sexual identities, all these items were addressed during Canada’s House of Commons’ Subcommittee on International Human Rights of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International DevelopmentSubcommittee meeting Chaired by Sameer Zuberi MP.

The Subcommittee on International Human Rights of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development (SDIR) dedicated two hours (1.5hrs with witnesses) to discuss the human rights situation in Nigeria. Jubilee Campaign opened the meeting describing the violence perpetrated by ISWAP and other non-state actors, including the Fulani militants, towards predominately Christian communities. Jubilee Campaign raised concern about the enjoyed impunity and referenced their Genocide Loading report and described that an independent fact-finding mission is necessary to collect the evidence regarding the genocidal violence. Jubilee Campaign also called for the repeal of anti-blasphemy laws – especially the removal of the death penalty. Among the witnesses was Nigerian Angela Uzoma-Iwuchukwu, joining directly for Nigeria representing Lawyers Without Frontiers. She focused her attention on the use of the death penalty and reference, as well, the case of Yahaya Sharif-Aminu, whom Sharia courts had previously sentenced to death for blasphemy.

Members of the parliament raised concerns regarding the killings of religious and ethnic minorities. One parliamentarian specifically raising the case of Leah Sharibu. Anita Vandenbeld MP – who attended the last meeting on Nigeria in November 2020 – raised questions regarding the specific gender based violence. The criminal gangs’ abduction of women and girls, food insecurity and the situation of the internally displaced were also discussion as well as the potential influence of China and Russia in the militia violence.

Additionally:

  • Charlie Angus MP [New Democratic Party] raised concerned with the reports of trafficking.
  • Vice-Chair SDIR | Arnold Viersen MP [Conservative] was keen for Canada to act and requested one action they could take.
  • Vice-Chair SDIR | Alexis Brunnelle-Duceppe MP [Bloc Québécois] raised concern with the situation for ethnic minorities, the security of IDPs and risks they face, along with the food insecurity situation.
  • Ron Mckinnon MP [Liberal] “There seems to be a fundamental breakdown of society. Civil authorities are not able to maintain order and seem to be part of the problem, part of the violence.” He wanted to know which local actors, if any, existed, to make a change.
  • Tako Van Popta MP [Conservative] raised concern with the kidnapping of the Chibok girls and asked for an update regarding Leah Sharibu.
  • Ali Ehsassi MP [Liberal] “Completely agree with you on the need of a fact-finding mission, to keep an eye on what the government is doing but also various militias.”
  • Anita Vandenbeld MP [Liberal] Was particularly interested in the situation for women and agreed the situation was dire.

Jubilee Campaign’s Opening Oral Statement:


Jubilee Campaign’s Written Brief Submitted for the Record