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Declare abduction of students a crime against humanity, SERAP petitions ICC

Declare abduction of students a crime against humanity, SERAP petitions ICC
September 05
14:35 2021

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has petitioned Karim A. A. Khan QC, prosecutor, International Criminal Court (ICC), urging him to investigate the incessant cases of abduction of schoolchildren in northern Nigeria.

TheCable had reported that gunmen invaded the Government Day Secondary School in Kaya, Maradun LGA of Zamfara state around 11am on Wednesday, and abducted 73 students.

Following the attack, Bello Matawalle, governor of Zamfara, ordered the closure of all schools in the state.

In the petition signed by Kolawole Oluwadare, SERAP deputy director, the organization said: “Depriving children their right to education has severe consequences for their ability to access their fundamental rights.

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“The crime of abduction is not just a deprivation of a single fundamental human right, but a wholesale effort to re-engineer society and to deny children, including girls their human dignity and agency in all aspects of their lives.

“The persistent failure by Nigerian authorities to end the widespread and systemic abductions, and to provide safe and enabling learning environments for Nigerian children to enjoy their right to quality education amounts to crimes against humanity, which fall within the jurisdiction of the ICC.

“While the Nigerian authorities have the primary responsibility to investigate and prosecute the alleged crimes of abduction of students, they have repeatedly failed and/or neglected to do so.

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“The absence of any tangible and relevant investigation or prosecution in Nigeria suggests that the authorities are unwilling or unable to carry out genuine investigation or prosecution of those suspected to be responsible for and complicit in the abduction of students.

“SERAP is concerned about the growing reports of abduction of Nigerian students and closure of schools in several parts of Nigeria. As Nigeria is a state party to the Rome Statute, the ICC has jurisdiction over crimes against humanity committed on the territory of Nigeria or by its nationals.

“SERAP, therefore, urges you to conclude that on the basis of available information, the acts of abduction of students and closure of schools in many parts of northern Nigeria constitute crimes against humanity within the meaning of the Rome Statute of the ICC.”

“SERAP believes that substantial grounds exist to warrant the intervention of the prosecutor in this case, as provided for under Article 17 of the Rome Statute.”

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