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Abuja, 8 September 2016
"The EU Heads of mission in Nigeria welcome the publication of the report of the Kaduna State Government's Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the violence that occurred in Zaria in December 2015. This is a very positive sign of transparency and the EU Heads of mission encourage other ongoing investigations to also publish their findings and recommendations.
The report contains a number of important recommendations. We believe it is essential that all those responsible for the violence or violation of fundamental human rights in Zaria, from both sides, be equally investigated and prosecuted according to the law.
The EU underscores the universality of human rights, which must apply equally to all people. This includes the right to freedom of worship and the right to protest within the rules of law. We also underscore the importance of religious tolerance in a multicultural environment. In order to maintain peace and order, harassment of any particular community should be averted and dialogue encouraged by the authorities.
The EU Heads of mission in Nigeria are of the view that the authority of the government must be respected by all communities. In case of violence or disorder, the government must ensure a fair and balanced investigation and all those accused of misconduct should be brought to justice.
We urge the Nigerian army to be consistent, transparent and fair in its investigation and prosecution of those within the military who acted outside the rule of law during the Zaria clashes. We support in particular the recommendation that the existing rules of engagement pertaining to internal security operations are reviewed to bring them into conformity with democratic norms and humanitarian best practices. It is essential that immediate measures are taken to ensure these rules are understood and applied by the members of the army, the Nigerian public being fully informed.
The EU Heads of mission will continue to watch developments closely."