UN rights council eyes special session on Boko Haram

2015-03-27 17:13
Boko Haram Islamists leader Abubakar Shekau. (File AFP

Boko Haram Islamists leader Abubakar Shekau. (File AFP

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Geneva - The United Nations Human Rights Council has received a request to host a special session next week on abuses by Boko Haram militants in Nigeria and neighbouring countries, the council president said on Friday.

The UN's top rights body received the request late on Thursday from Algeria, on behalf of the group of African countries, president Joachim Ruecker told the council.

If officially accepted by at least one third of the council's 47 members, the session will go ahead on 1 April.

So far, 19 member states have said they will support the request, indicating it will be accepted.

The announcement came a day before Nigerians head to the polls, amid calls for tighter security following years of bloody attacks by Boko Haram in the country's restive northeast.

The insurgency by Boko Haram militants, aiming to create a hardline Islamic state, has killed more than 13 000 people since 2009 and forced some 1.5 million others to flee their homes.

The group, which recently pledged allegiance to the Islamic State insurgency, has also increased attacks in neighbouring countries.

While the militants appear to have been weakened by recent advances by the Nigerian military and its coalition partners Niger, Cameroon and Chad, there are fears the group could target people during the elections.

The UN Human Rights Council rarely hosts special sessions, with only 22 such events held since the body was created in 2006.

Read more on:    un  |  boko haram  |  nigeria  |  west africa

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