Religious and ethnic violence in Nigeria bordering on crimes against humanity

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Nigeria

The number of people killed in the latest wave of violence unleashed on churches by the Boko Haram group in Nigeria, has risen to over 100 according to the UN Office for Human Rights (OHCHR).

At least 30 of victims were killed in the subsequent retaliation by Christian youths who set up check points.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights is warning that acts leading to population cleansing on grounds of religion or ethnicity would amount to crimes against humanity.

The High Commissioner is urging Muslim and Christian leaders in Nigeria to redouble their efforts to contain what she says were dangerous manifestations of religious intolerance and inter-communal violence.

Rupert Colville is the spokesperson for the UN Office for Human Rights.

"Members of Boko Haram and other groups and entities, if judged to have committed widespread or systematic attacks against a civilian population – including on grounds such as religion or ethnicity – are likely to be found guilty of crimes against humanity. We condemn the repeated attacks by Boko Haram on places of worship and on religious freedom, as well as its blatant attempts to stir sectarian tensions and violence between two communities that have lived together peacefully for so long. We encourage local and national authorities to take effective measures to assist victims. We urge the authorities in Nigeria to take measures to curb inflammatory or hate-speech and to work with all stakeholders including civil society and religious leaders to help deal with this threat."

Duration  45″

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