Wednesday, December 21, 2016 8:33 am
The Federal Government has assured the global community that it would not relent until all Boko Haram hostages are freed and reunited with their loved ones.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, gave the assurance at the UN Security Council “Open Debate on Trafficking in Persons in Conflict Situations” on Tuesday.
“We are pleased to state that Boko Haram has been militarily defeated and while some success has been achieved in liberating a good number of the women and girls they held as hostage.
“We shall not relent until all of their hostages are freed and reunited with their loved ones,” Onyeama told the Council.
The Minister commended the role of the Multi-national Joint Task Force in degrading the destructive Boko Haram insurgents.
“We acknowledge the important role our neighbours – Cameroon, Chad and Niger – are playing in the fight against Boko Haram.”
According to him, conflict situations expose civilians, especially women and girls, to grave dangers such as human trafficking, sexual violence and slavery.
“Terrorist groups such as ISIS and Boko Haram, operating with complete disregard for international law and international humanitarian law, have introduced a new dimension to trafficking in persons and sexual exploitation of women and girls.
“Their outrageous acts of depravity have shocked the world and drawn unprecedented attention to the plight women and girls in conflict situations.
“The war crimes and crimes against humanity that they commit must not go unpunished,” the Minister said.
The Minister said the concept note on human trafficking raised very significant issues and shared Nigeria’s perspectives on some of them.
He said the Security Council could better integrate the issue of human trafficking in conflict situations through enhanced engagement of the Council with UN Office on Drugs and Crime, International Organisation for Migration, the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee and other relevant actors.
“The UN system can work closely together to fight human trafficking in conflict situations and in the context of terrorism while delivering their respective mandates, which could be facilitated by improved coordination.”
Onyeama said as different agencies have different capacities in terms of expertise, a coordinated approach would enhance the overall effectiveness of the UN in the fight against human trafficking and terrorism.
He called for a greater commitment to the implementation of relevant international laws by member states to combat human trafficking.
“The Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children” is a case in point.
“It not only provides the first agreed international definition of trafficking in persons, it also establishes a framework of obligations and standards for member states to elaborate national responses to fight human trafficking,” the Minister said.
According to him, applying these international instruments and relevant domestic laws is crucial in ensuring accountability for those who engage in human trafficking in conflict situations.
He stressed the need for humanitarian agencies to engage the services of relevant experts, while paying special attention to the gender dimension of the problem to ensure effective support to victims of human trafficking.
“The The fight against human trafficking in conflict situations is beyond the capacity of any one state.
“It requires concerted action at the global and national levels complimented by strong leadership by the Security Council.
“We seize this opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to continue to work with all stakeholders at the multilateral and bilateral levels in our common fight against human trafficking,” Onyeama said.
The Minister commended the Security Council for organising the debate and pledged Nigeria’s commitment to the implementation of relevant instruments to combat human trafficking.
Earlier, Onyeama, who led the Nigerian delegation, had said Nigeria strongly condemned the assassination of Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov, in Ankara on Monday.
The Minister said Nigeria expressed its deep condolences to the family of the late ambassador and the Russian Government. (NAN)