Kenya: Rights body hails ECOWAS court decision on Nigerian forces

Nairobi, Kenya (PANA) - Tuesday's ECOWAS Court decision against the Nigerian security forces, who indiscriminately opened fire on peaceful protesters in Bundu Ama in Southern Rivers state almost five years ago, is a victory against impunity, Amnesty International said Wednesday.

The global human rights watchdog, in collaboration with Collaborative Media Advocacy Platform, said the  decision by the Community Court of Justice is  also a triumph for justice.

“This remarkable victory brings to a close a long battle for justice by members of the community of Bundu Ama who were unlawfully killed and injured at the hands of Nigerian security forces,” said Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International’s Africa Director.

“It sends a clear message to governments that they cannot violate people’s rights with impunity. It also demonstrates that with courage and commitment, communities - no matter how marginalised - can successfully stand up for their rights.

"This judgment is a testament to the courage of a community who refused to allow their human rights to be violated with impunity,” Belay said.

The Court ruled that there was no justification for the shootings and also held that the Nigerian government had breached its obligation to protect and respect the right to peaceful association and assembly.

The court awarded a total of 11 million Nigerian Naira (US$$70,000) in damages.

On 12 October 2009, armed security forces opened fire on unarmed protesters in Bundu Ama, an informal settlement in the Southern oil city of Port Harcourt, leaving at least one person dead and 12 seriously injured.

The total number of dead remains unknown because the government not only refused to undertake an inquiry into the incident but denied anything had taken place.

The case was brought by 10 residents of Bundu waterfront and surrounding communities and the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) against the Federal and Rivers state government.

The case highlights a number of issues of concern to Amnesty International, including the ongoing use of forced evictions and the use of excessive force by the Nigerian police and army, the rights body said.
-0- PANA DJ/SEG 11June2014


11 Junho 2014 12:08:47

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