UN Rights Chief urged to Hold Special Session on the Situation in Niger Delta

SERAP has petitioned the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Ms Navi Pillay in Geneva, requesting her to “urgently hold or facilitate the holding of a special session of the Human Rights Council to address the human rights situation in Niger Delta (south-south zone) in the context of the on-going conflict.”

In the petition dated 25 May 2009 and signed by Solicitor to SERAP, and President West African Bar Association (WABA), Mr Femi Falana, the organization stated that “According to our information, since 13 May 2009, thousands of villagers have been displaced and thousands more are trapped in the cross fire between the Joint Task Force (JTF), which is composed from troops of the army, navy, air force and the mobile police set up in 2004 to restore order in the Niger Delta south-south zone.

The JTF attacks on the communities in the area, including the Okerenkoko and Oporoza communities, are continuing on a daily basis, reportedly because they believe the armed groups are hiding in the communities.”

Citing reports by Amnesty International, SERAP also stated that “On 15 May, using helicopters equipped with machine guns, the JTF attacked several communities of the Gbaramatu Kingdom, including Okerenkoko and Oporoza.

In Oporoza, around 500 people had gathered for a yearly festival that was being celebrated in several communities of the Gbaramatu Kingdom. Hundreds of bystanders, including women and children, are believed to have been killed and injured by the JTF, and by the armed groups, while shooting at the JTF.”

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