Today was one of the rare instances that the UN Human Rights Council spent a whole day condemning a terrorist group, namely Boko Haram. That is the second time the Council holds an urgent debate against terrorism, the first being against the Islamic State in September 2014.
It is interesting that many themes discussed today rarely come up in the HRC, such as:
- Several delegations spoke of “asymmetric warfare”
- The Coordination Committee of Special Procedures raised the issue of children being used as human shields by Boko Haram
- Many states spoke against passing on arms to terrorist groups
The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Cameroon, Pierre Moukoko Mbonjo, made the following frank remark:
“We call for understanding from our friends in the Human Rights Council. A proportionate response to the attacks can only be made to the degree that the army has the capacity to assess the scope of the attack. That is not our case. We don’t have the technological and satellite instruments to see how Boko Haram will attack us. They always take us by surprise and we have to react.”
All these points are interesting especially when one compares them to the prevailing discourse during the discussion of the Council’s pet issue, that is the Israel-Arab conflict, and the tactics of terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah.