June 16, New York: The Human Rights Watch (HRW) says Sri Lanka is not a good model for Nigeria to follow to crush that country's ruthless Boko Haram terrorists.
Responding to the declaration by Nigeria's Defence Headquarters that it will employ the "Sri Lankan method", to crush the insurgents, the New York based right organization said "Itís hard to imagine a worse idea."
While acknowledging the pressure on the government to deal with the Boko Haram terrorists who abducted 300 schoolgirls in April and are still holding 250 of them, the HRW said before opting for "the Sri-Lankan method" to deal with an insurgency, Nigeria should examine what that actually means.
HRW noted that Sri Lanka's war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which like Boko Haram responsible for numerous horrific abuses, caused tremendous and unnecessary human suffering particularly in its final stages in 2009.
"In the last months of the conflict, as many as 40,000 civilians died, according to the United Nations Secretary-Generalís Panel of Experts report. And since the defeat of the LTTE in May 2009, serious abuses against ethnic Tamils by the military, including systematic rape of suspected LTTE supporters, have continued to the present," the HRW said in a statement.
Pointing out that those responsible for the numerous wartime abuses on both sides have yet to be investigated, let alone brought to justice, the right organization asked whether it is really the model for Nigeria to follow.
Hrw noted that Nigeria's security forces have already committed many serious abuses in their fight against Boko Haram including offenses that might constitute crimes against humanity.
"Replicating Sri Lanka's lawless approach to counterinsurgency would further endanger a civilian population already brutalized both by Boko Haram and the military," the HRW said. It said the Nigerian government needs to work with the population at risk and not treat them - as Sri Lankaís government did - as the enemy.