International Human Rights Day (December 10)

Insufficient protection of civilian population in conflicts (Press Release)

On the occasion of the International Human Rights Day, the Society for Threatened (STP) criticizes the fact that there is not enough protection for the civilian population in armed conflicts. Further, aid organizations are still not able to access the embattled region of Tigray in Ethiopia. Also, the Nigerian government has practically given up trying to protect the people from attacks by the Islamist terror organization Boko Haram.

According to Ulrich Delius, the STP's Director, the terrorist militia does not have to fear any real resistance from the Nigerian armed forces, and the people can no longer rely on the state to protect them – especially the Christians, but also moderate Muslims. "The militia groups often abduct women and girls, who are then forced to marry and have children. If they are freed or manage to escape, the mothers and children are often shunned by their community. These children of war need special protection, but are often denied help in Nigeria. Thus, the STP appealed to German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas to do more to protect the innocent victims of Boko Haram in the pre-Christmas period.

Currently, it is hardly possible to assess the situation of the civilian population of Tigray from the outside. Since the offensive began in early November, the region has been subject to an internet and news blackout. "On November 28, the Ethiopian government had actually assured the United Nations that humanitarian aid deliveries to the region would be allowed – but this is not the case," Delius said. "This is not a breach of some unimportant contract: it is a breach of international humanitarian law and a gross violation of the obligation to protect the civilian population in an armed conflict. The United Nations must not accept this behavior – and the consequences should be discussed as soon as possible."