Daily Archives: May 24, 2018

UN: Attacks on Healthcare Facilities in Libya Likely War Crimes

The United Nations � in a joint report by the UN Human Rights Office and the U.N. Support Mission in Libya � condemns widespread, indiscriminate attacks by all armed groups in Libya against healthcare facilities and personnel, saying they could constitute war crimes.

The U.N. agencies have recorded 36 attacks on medical facilities, personnel or patients between May 2017 and May 2018. But, U.N. human rights spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani notes monitors are severely restricted in their movements in Libya and the actual number of attacks is probably significantly higher.

Armed groups, including those formally integrated into the ministries, have assaulted, threatened and even unlawfully deprived healthcare workers of their liberty. Doctors and other hospital staff face insults, intimidation and beatings by fighters who are seeking preferential treatment for the injured members of their armed groups and their relatives.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, describes as utterly shameful behavior the threats against doctors and attacks against medical facilities that prevent sick and wounded people from receiving timely treatment.

His spokeswoman, Shamdasani, says these actions affect some of the most vulnerable people in Libya.

These attacks are obviously a major violation of international law and a tragic disregard for our common humanity, intentionally directing attacks against medical facilities and personnel, willfully killing or harming sick or wounded people may constitute war crimes, she said.

The U.N. calls on all parties in the conflict to minimize hits on medical facilities and workers during military operations. It also calls on Libya’s interim Government of National Accord to hold accountable those who attack and threaten healthcare providers.

Source: Voice of America

Amnesty: Nigeria’s Military Tortured, Raped, Killed Civilians

Nigeria’s military has committed war crimes and crimes against humanity including torture, rape and killing civilians during its fight against Islamist insurgency Boko Haram, human rights group Amnesty International said Thursday.

The crimes were perpetrated for years and have continued despite a presidential inquiry established last August whose findings have not been made public, said the watchdog.

In a statement, the Nigerian military described Amnesty’s findings as a false report on fictitious rape incidents in IDP (internally displaced person) camps in the North East region of Nigeria.

A presidency statement said Amnesty’s report lacks credibility.

Amnesty report

The 89-page report is based on hundreds of interviews and is replete with accounts of sexual violence, torched villages and other abuses.

The soldiers, they betrayed us, they said that we should come out of from our villages, said a woman whose name was given as Yakura in the report. They said it would be safer and that they would give us a secure place to stay. But when we came, they betrayed us. They detained our husbands and then they raped us women, said Yakura, who fled Andara village, Borno state, in December 2016.

Nigeria has waged a nine-year war against Boko Haram and its now more powerful offshoot, Islamic State West Africa. The country has fought alongside Cameroon, Chad and Niger and been supported by the United States, Great Britain and France.

The conflict has killed more than 30,000 people and spawned one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.

For years, rights groups, aid organizations and journalists have documented military abuses, with little resulting action from the armed forces.

Many deaths

According to Amnesty’s report, interviewees said that when the military conducted operations in their villages, they burnt down homes and opened fire at remaining residents indiscriminately.

Often the military would forcibly take people to camps for people displaced by the conflict, the report said. People the military detained without food and water would die, the watchdog said.

Many of the women were held for six months to two years without charge, some were tortured and beaten, and some, along with 32 children, died, the report said.

One woman whose name Amnesty gave as Aiya detailed her experience after arriving at a displacement camp, where she was sent to the prison: I was pregnant and I went into labor. I found the toilet and I had my baby next to it. No one helped me. At the beginning, I didn’t know if my baby was alive or dead.

Hunger and sickness still kills people in displacement camps, where sexual violence has been and continues to be perpetrated on a wide scale, the report said, adding that many women are forced to have sex in exchange for food and supplies.

Source: Voice of America