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Nigeria: Armed Conflict

Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN 57236, tabled on 9 June 2020

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, what steps he is taking to ensure that Government support does not contribute to abuses taking place in that region as a result of conflict.

Answered on

17 June 2020

We are concerned by the reports of abuse and of children being held in military detention facilities, detailed within Amnesty International's Report, 'We Dried Our Tears'. The UK position is clear: children are victims of the conflict in North East Nigeria, not perpetrators and must not be treated as perpetrators.

The British High Commissioner has raised the report's findings with the Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs and has called for a full investigation into the allegations and prosecution of any individuals found to have committed abuses. The UK will continue to call on the Nigerian security forces to respect human rights, including the rights of children and abide by international humanitarian and human rights law. It is essential that victims can have trust in, and are protected by, their security forces.

All UK Government programme spend in difficult, conflict environments is subject to regular monitoring and review. The UK Government does not provide any support to the military detention facilities mentioned in Amnesty's report.

We are concerned by the criticism of the demobilisation, de-radicalisation and reintegration programme 'Operation Safe Corridor' in Amnesty's report, and are urgently following up with the implementer, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). They have assured us that no children are currently enrolled in the Operation Safe Corridor programme. Operation Safe Corridor is funded by international donors including the UK, US and EU.

Through our humanitarian and development assistance in Nigeria, we are supporting children affected by the conflict in the North East, including those previously detained by the Nigerian authorities. This includes support to programmes which ensure children's essential material needs are met. We will continue to urge all parties to prioritise mitigating the effect of conflict on civilians, particularly the most vulnerable including children.