HRW Asks Kerry To Make Human Rights, Rule Of Law Priority In Nigeria, Saudi
…To Ensure Reforms In Military Too
Human Rights Watch has asked the United States Secretary of State John Kerry to make respect for human rights and civilian protection his priority during his upcoming trip to Kenya, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia.
The body stated this today in a letter to the Secretary of State.
Kerry is expected to meet with senior government officials in Kenya on August 22, 2016 and in Nigeria on August 23-24.
He will be in Saudi Arabia to discuss the armed conflict in Yemen on August 24-25.
Speaking on the visit, Washington Director at Human Rights Watch, Sarah Margon said, “Secretary Kerry should press Kenya and Nigeria to ensure that security forces protect instead of prey on marginalised communities, including refugees.”
“Kerry needs to tell the Saudis that unless unlawful coalition airstrikes in Yemen stop, US weapons sales will.” She said
HRW said that in Kenya, Kerry should urge investigations into security force abuses including enforced disappearances and torture.
The group also wants Kerry to tell Kenya not to close Dadaab, the world’s largest refugee camp, or forcibly repatriate Somali refugees to their embattled country while in Nigeria; he should continue to press for meaningful reforms in the Nigerian military.
Kerry, HRW added should also use his Africa visit to address widespread atrocities in South Sudan while urging leaders of countries in the region to impose targeted financial sanctions on individuals responsible for grave human rights abuses and to build international support for an arms embargo.
On Somalia, HRW said Kerry should push to strengthen accountability mechanisms within AMISOM, the international peacekeeping mission, with all troop-contributing countries.
In Saudi Arabia, HRW asked the US Secretary of State to raise concerns about serious and repeated violations of the laws of war by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen that have killed many civilians.
Kerry, Margon said should make it clear to the Saudi government the need to end unlawful airstrikes or risk losing US sales of munitions and arms and also press the government to allow independent investigations into alleged war crimes by all parties to the conflict.
According to Margon, “The Obama administration will have few remaining opportunities to express its human rights concerns directly to leaders in the region. It shouldn’t waste this one.”