Location Nigeria Nigeria

Boko Haram victims suffer sexual violence: Amnesty

Thousands of women who fled Boko Haram violence in Nigeria’s northeast have been victims of sexual violence and deprivations, Amnesty International said Friday.

In a statement commemorating International Women’s Day, the rights body said most of the women in the displaced persons camps have reportedly been forced to sleep with strangers in exchange for food or protection.

“It is unacceptable that women who survived the brutal reign of Boko Haram are still being denied their rights,” said Osai Ojigho, Nigeria head of the body.

“We have long documented that women are being made to exchange sex for food and livelihood opportunities by members of the security forces just to survive and feed their children.”

The rights group said there has been no proper investigation or action on its report last year which it said documented patterns of alleged rape, starvation and arbitrary detention by the local security forces.

“The government and military shamefully dismissed the findings. A follow-up with the survivors shows they are on the verge of losing hope of ever getting justice, with previous promises of investigation leading nowhere. However, they will not give up,” the statement said.

“We are also calling on the Senate of National Assembly to fulfil its pledge to investigate concerns raised in our report, ‘They Betrayed Us’, so that survivors can get justice.”

The body also condemned what it called arbitrary detention and forced disappearance of men and boys in the insurgency-wracked region, calling on the government to halt the trend it blamed on security agencies.

“The arbitrary detention by security forces of what may still amount to thousands of men is unlawful under international human rights law,” the statement added.

“The failure by the authorities to provide a mechanism for family members of detainees to obtain information on the whereabouts and well being of their relatives, and the denial of information to those who approached the military for information, has caused mental suffering that constitutes ill-treatment under international human rights law.”

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