Will Sec. of State Kerry Address Boko Haram's Human Rights Violations Too?

Will Sec. of State Kerry Address Boko Haram's Human Rights Violations Too?

Speaking in Africa on May 25, Secretary of State John Kerry “urged Nigeria…to uphold human rights as it steps up its fight against [the] radical [Islamist]” group Boko Haram. But considering the atrocities allegedly committed by Boko Haram, might not Kerry speak to them about the need to uphold human rights as well?

In fact, to do anything less is to demonstrate a lack of moral clarity that makes any appeal to human rights vacuous. 

Since 2009 Boko Haram has carried out religious apartheid against Christians in northern portions of Nigeria. Over the last four years they killed more than 3,000 Christians, and they’ve done so brutally–frequently with machetes and knives or through torture. 

In 2012 alone, Boko Haram killed nearly 1,000 people, the majority of whom were Christians. And already during 2013, the militants have allegedly destroyed 50 Catholic churches in the Maiduguri diocese.

And when you consider that the very name ‘Boko Haram’ translates to “Western education is sinful,” or “Western culture is sinful,” Kerry’s not-so-tacit criticism of Nigeria’s attempts to rein in the militants looks more and more like a resurgence of the age-old game of blame the West, overlook the rest.

Boko Haram has allegedly carried out callous, atrocious acts against innocents as part of their war on the West and on the Nigerian government. Rather than criticize that government for acting to stop Boko Haram’s reign of terror, ought we not follow the advice of former AFRICOM commander Gen. Carter Ham and “help the Nigerians address the problem internally before it gets worse”?


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