Terrorists are created, not born - says UN Dep Sec Gen

Amina Mohammed has said Boko Haram members and other terrorists are created and not born as many would think.

Amina Mohammed - Minister of Environment

Mohammed, who made the remarks while briefing the Security Council on her recent trip to the Lake Chad Basin for on-the-spot assessment of the Boko Haram crisis.

“As the Deputy Secretary-General, as an African and as a Nigerian, I truly welcome the Council’s visit to the Lake Chad Basin to witness first-hand the impact of the Boko Haram insurgency.

“Even more so that, as a child, I grew up in Maiduguri and know that terrorists are not born but created by a set of circumstances.

“The Security Council’s field visits around the world have been instrumental in highlighting the links between peace, development and human rights.

“I thank you for the much-needed attention you have now brought to this troubled region.

“The Lake Chad crisis provides a powerful illustration of the complex multi-dimensional challenges facing our modern world.

“A successful response requires mobilising our assets holistically to implement the 2030 Agenda and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals,” she said.

She said the UN is focused on six main pillars of engagement namely, political; humanitarian assistance; human rights; recovery and development; justice, law enforcement and the financing of terrorism; and technical support to the regional Multi-national Joint Task Force.

“Three other dimensions are being added: gender; defections and surrenders by Boko Haram militants, and that has its own challenges given the number of youth and young girls.

“And support to Member States to develop a regional plan of action to prevent violent extremism.

“It is essential that we address the Boko Haram crisis in a holistic manner.

“This means looking beyond the security lens and addressing the root causes, including inequality, exclusion and the full array of economic, social, political, cultural and religious grievances,” she said.

According to her, the UN continues through the efforts the Secretary-General’s Special Representatives for Central Africa and West Africa and the Sahel, to encourage Member States and the regional leadership to convene a Joint Summit on Boko Haram.

“We and this Council are keenly aware of the deteriorating humanitarian and human rights situation which has displaced millions of people in the region.

“Some 10.7 million people in the Lake Chad Basin need humanitarian assistance now.“More than 7 million require food support, including 515,000 children with severe acute malnutrition.

“Drought is inevitable, and there is a real risk of famine, which can be averted with the urgent action that we need now,” she said.

The Deputy UN scribe said the World Food Programme had reaching more than one million people in northeast and UNICEF had assisted four million people with basic services.

Mohammed said that despite the considerable contribution of the recent Oslo Donor Conference, demands outstrip resources, Member States need to ensure the 1.5 billion-dollar humanitarian appeal for the Lake Chad region is fully funded.

She implored affected governments to ensure full, safe and unimpeded access to all affected areas and populations.

Mohammed said prevention of future radicalisation and violence will also entail comprehensive responses that benefit all members of society, especially marginalised communities and youth.

“I was in Bama just three weeks ago where we have one of the largest camps and to see how children were thriving with the opportunity of education – not in the right circumstances.

“But certainly that transition that UNICEF was able to provide was certainly a sign of hope and one that we need to invest in.”

She said the situation in the four countries affected by Boko Haram continues to be defined by grave human rights abuses committed by the terrorists and in the context of counter-terrorism actions.

“In Nigeria, the UN has been given access to detention facilities in Maiduguri to monitor the conditions under which women and children captured during military operations are being held.”

Mohammed said the plight of women and girls associated with and affected by Boko Haram is of particular concern.

According to her, UN and partners have provided care and support to approximately 6,000 women and children formerly associated with or captured by Boko Haram.

“But many more are still displaced in camps, detained by the authorities, or are struggling to reintegrate into their communities, where many face stigma and discrimination.

“Many are survivors of sexual violation, exploitation and abuse. They need comprehensive assistance.”

According to her, addressing the root causes of this crisis is necessary for durable peace in the region.

“Let us also note that it will also help alleviate the phenomenon of mass migration to Europe by people who feel they have no choice but to look for better opportunities far from their homeland.

The UN Deputy Secretary-General said one priority to tackle the Boko Haram challenge must be the regeneration of Lake Chad itself, which has now lost 90 per cent of its water due to unsustainable water management practices and climate change.

“Your recent visit to the Lake Chad Basin has highlighted the urgency and complexity of the crisis faced by the region’s people, and the threat it poses to international peace and security.

“My single clear message today is that the solution lies in holistic thinking. The 2030 Agenda provides a blueprint and a tool for providing a better future for the people of the Lake Chad Basin.

Mohammed welcomed the work being done by the World Bank in the Lake Chad Basin as and the commitment of the AU and Africa’s regional organisations to peace, security and the integrated implementation of the 2030 Agenda and Africa’s own Agenda 2063.

“I sincerely believe your visit has boosted the potential for partnership and provided much needed hope for the people of that region, and much needed impetus for we in the UN system,” she said.


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