15.3.2011   

EN

Official Journal of the European Union

CE 81/143


Thursday 6 May 2010
Mass atrocities in Jos, Nigeria

P7_TA(2010)0157

European Parliament resolution of 6 May 2010 on the mass atrocities in Jos, Nigeria

2011/C 81 E/24

The European Parliament,

having regard to its previous resolutions on human rights violations in Nigeria,

having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966, ratified by Nigeria on 29 October 1993,

having regard to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights of 1981, ratified by Nigeria on 22 June 1983,

having regard to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and in particular the provisions on the protection of freedom of religion set out in its Chapter IV - Right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion,

having regard to Rule 110(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.

shocked by the outbreaks of violence in January and March of this year in and around Jos, which lies at the crossroads between Nigeria’s Muslim north and Christian south, during which many hundreds of people were killed in religious and ethnic clashes,

B.

whereas the military played a key role in stepping in to bring the situation under control, but whereas, at the same time, there have been reports of extrajudicial killings by the military and also by the police,

C.

whereas intercommunal conflict has been a regular occurrence in Jos, with major clashes taking place in 2001, 2004 and 2008,

D.

whereas, according to human rights reports, more than 14 000 people have been killed in religious or ethnic clashes since the end of military rule in 1999,

E.

whereas a Red Cross official has been quoted as saying that at least two other nearby communities were also targeted, in an area close to where sectarian clashes left hundreds of people dead in January,

F.

whereas the Red Cross is reporting that as a consequence of this violence at least 5 600 people are fleeing the area in fear of their lives,

G.

whereas the problems in the area of Jos stem from a lack of economic development, from the adverse effects of climate change, and from the tension rooted in decades of resentment between indigenous groups, mostly Christian or animist, vying for control of fertile farmland with migrants and settlers from the Hausa-speaking Muslim north,

H.

whereas it is not possible systematically to place Muslims or Christians in the role of either aggressors or victims, since historically they have been both,

I.

whereas the current instability underscores the fragility of Africa’s most populous nation as it approaches the campaign period for the 2011 elections facing uncertainty over political leadership resulting from President Yar’Adua’s illness,

J.

whereas Nigeria’s stability and democracy carry great significance beyond its immediate borders, owing to the country’s leading role in the region and in sub-Saharan Africa (Nigeria is a member of the UN Security Council, a global oil producer, a leader in ECOWAS, a major contributor to peacekeeping operations, and a stabilising force in West Africa),

K.

whereas the EU is a major financial donor to Nigeria, and whereas on 12 November 2009 the Commission and the Nigerian Federal Government signed the Nigeria-EC Country Strategy Paper and National Indicative Programme for the period 2008-2013, under which the EU will fund projects aimed, inter alia, at securing peace and security and human rights,

L.

whereas the peaceful resolution of conflicts also implies fair access to resources and the redistribution of revenues in an oil-rich country such as Nigeria,

M.

whereas although Nigeria is the world’s eighth-largest oil producer the majority of its 148 million inhabitants live below the poverty line,

N.

whereas, under Article 8 of the revised Cotonou Agreement, the EU engages in regular political dialogue with Nigeria on human rights and democratic principles, including ethnic, religious and racial discrimination,

1.

Strongly condemns the recent violence and the tragic loss of lives in and around Jos and extends its sympathies to the bereaved and injured;

2.

Urges all parties to exercise restraint and seek peaceful means to resolve differences between religious and ethnic groups in Nigeria;

3.

Calls on the Nigerian Federal Government to carry out an investigation into the causes of the most recent violence and ensure that the perpetrators of acts of violence are brought to justice in a fair and transparent manner;

4.

Calls on the Nigerian Federal Government to take concrete and urgent measures to support inter-ethnic and inter-faith dialogue, and welcomes the initiative by acting President Goodluck Jonathan to bring religious and community leaders together;

5.

Calls for a wider examination of the root causes of the conflict, including social, economic and ethnic tensions, and for care to be taken to avoid broad and simplistic explanations based only on religion that will not provide the basis for a long-term and lasting solution to the problems of this region;

6.

Calls on the Nigerian authorities to reverse the recent move by some Nigerian state governors to execute death-row inmates to ease overcrowding in prisons, which would constitute a gross violation of human rights; calls on the state governors to exercise restraint and continue the de facto moratorium; recalls that the use of the death penalty is contrary to Nigeria’s commitments at international level;

7.

Calls on the Nigerian Federal Government to protect its people by conducting regular patrols throughout the region and to address the root causes of the violence by guaranteeing equal rights for all citizens and by tackling problems relating to control of fertile farmland, access to resources, unemployment, poverty and climate change mitigation; calls for those forced to flee as a result of the massacre be allowed to return safely to their homes;

8.

Urges the EU to continue its political dialogue with Nigeria under Article 8 of the revised Cotonou Agreement and in that context to address issues relating to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief, as enshrined in universal, regional and national human rights instruments;

9.

Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President/High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Federal Government of Nigeria, the institutions of the African Union, the United Nations Secretary-General, the United Nations General Assembly, the Co-Presidents of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly and the Pan-African Parliament (PAP).