The United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, is to present the situation in the Lake Chad Basin to the UN General Assembly next week after visiting Niger and Nigeria to observe the impact of crisis in the region.
Lowcock began his role as the UN’s under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs this September had visited Gwoza and Pulka.
“Civilians continue to bear the brunt of a conflict that has led to widespread forced displacement and violations of international humanitarian and human rights law,” Lowcock said in a statement after his visit.
“Since the beginning of the conflict more than 20,000 people have been killed, and thousands of women and children abducted. This year, over 80 children have been used as ‘human bombs.’”
“Attacks on IDP camps by suicide bombers raise serious physical security threats for IDPs living in those camps.”
“I was struck in both Gwoza and Pulka by the scale of humanitarian need – thousands of people who have been forced to flee the safety of their homes and take refuge in camps or with host communities,” he said of his visit.
“Despite the challenges, the stresses and the uncertainties, people were receiving support in terms of food, shelter and medical supplies, but more importantly people were receiving support from each other. I was also encouraged by the hope that people expressed to return home, despite ongoing insecurity in many areas.”
He said the UN and its partners remain committed to supporting the northeast. “But most of all we – the entire humanitarian community – are bound to advocate for the protection of all civilians,” he said.
Lowcock further added, “The people of the northeast of Nigeria have endured too many years of suffering, and have the right to live in safety and dignity. Civilians should not be forced to flee their villages and their homes. Civilians should not bear the brunt of the conflict, And civilians should never be a target.”
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