The London-based rights group, the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) has submitted a report to the United Nations highlighting systematic state abuse in the Nigerian authorities’ treatment of the country’s Islamic Movement.
The report has been written for the upcoming review by the UN’s Human Rights Committee of Nigeria’s compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The report focuses on the persecution of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria and its leaders and supporters since 2014, a period which has seen two massacres and routine killings, torture, and detention without trial amongst other abuses.
THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS (NON-REPORTING STATE) 126thSession (1 July 2019 to 26 July 2019)
Since at least 2014 the authorities in Nigeria have prosecuted a systematic and violent campaign to suppress the Islamic Movement of Nigeria. The campaign has taken the form of extra-judicial killings, arrests, intimidation (including torture), abuse of domestic law, destruction of the organization’s property, and restrictions on lawful activities.
The persecution of the movement has been characterized by massive state repression of its activities. Moreover, none of the officials responsible for committing serious human rights abuses has been held accountable for their actions. This report provides a detailed but non-exhaustive summary of state breaches of the ICCPR in respect of the ongoing crackdown on the Islamic Movement of Nigeria dating from 2014.
Several key rights in the ICCPR have been breached by the state, among them freedom of assembly, the right to a fair trial, freedom of religion and the right to life itself.
The Islamic Movement’s leader Sheikh Ibrahim el-Zakzaky was arrested in the December 2015 massacre in Zaria by the Nigerian military of over 1000 followers of the group, just over one year after another attack on the movement which killed tens of supporters. After detaining him without charge for two years Nigerian authorities brought Sheikh Zakzaky to trial in 2018 on trumped up charges of abetting the commission of culpable homicide by blocking roads in the city in the run-up to the massacre. In reality, the charges are designed to deflect government responsibility for a planned and systematic attack by soldiers which is now the subject of a preliminary investigation by the International Criminal Court.