14-06-04 15:29
Nigeria: Human rights dialogue needs international support

ISHR: Germany should take initiative against stoning - Diplomats asked to inform regularly about events in Africa's most populous country

Frankfurt/M. - 14 June 2004. The International Society for Human Rights, German Section, calls upon the German federal government to actively support the improvement of the human rights situation in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. German diplomats are called upon to monitor the human rights dialogue in Nigeria, to participate in conferences organised in the framework of the human rights dialogue and to inform the German government regularly about the human rights situation in Nigeria. Germany should take initiative in the United Nations and directly with the Nigerian government in order to achieve the non-application of barbaric forms of punishment such as stoning, amputation or lashings. Official representatives of Germany in Nigeria must stand up for human rights.

Various human rights violations are common in Nigeria, in particular since twelve northern federal states have introduced the Islamic criminal code of Sharia. The Sharia penal code prescribes forms of punishment such as lashings and amputations. The punishment for adultery is death by stoning. Sharia discriminates against women who do not have equal status before the law. Daily rules have practically led to a policy of apartheid. For example, women and men in the northern Nigerian states where Sharia is law are not allowed to travel on buses together, not even husbands and wives.

In addition, Nigerian women are subject to genital mutilation which is very often a life-threatening procedure. Very early in their lives, young Nigerian girls are sexually and physically exploited by practices such as forced marriages. In some regions of Nigeria, so-called "fattening" is practised: Several weeks before the wedding, the woman is isolated from the community and force-fed in order to put on weight for their husband in accordance with the traditional beauty ideal. Followers of traditional religions suffer from human rights violations as well. Thus, the so-called Osu are systematically excluded from the community, because as "untouchables" they are the property of the gods.

Especially the tension between Christians and Muslims has led to a spiral of violence, in particular since the introduction of Sharia penal laws in the northern states. Various attempts to start a dialogue between Muslims and Christians have been launched in order to prevent further outbreaks of violence as well as to get back to normality. These attempts of dialogue must be actively supported by the international community, for example by foreign diplomats participating in conferences organised within the framework of this dialogue.

Iran / Nigeria: 14-year old girl sentenced to death by stoning - 15-10-04 13:01
Nigeria: New stoning verdict in Bauchi - 27-01-04 15:11
Nigeria: Condemn stoning internationally! - 19-08-02 13:39

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