Terrorism, a hindrance to human rights? Boko Haram

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Nalbant, Seren
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Boko Haram is a terrorist organization in Nigeria, dedicated to establish a new state solely based on Sharia law. Boko Haram triggered the most effective international indignation through the abduction of 276 school girls in 2014. Even though, the Nigerian government succeeded to combat Boko Haram at least to a certain extent, the situation remains a threat to human security, as both the Nigerian government and Boko Haram still continue to violate the fundamental human rights and the international humanitarian law. In this respect, the research aims to understand what led to the establishment of Boko Haram and its sustained influence. Thus, it will focus on three aspects: (a) the role of social inequality for the notions of terrorism, violence and revolution, (b) the psychological factors that help to explain why individuals become terrorists, (c) the actual influence of religion on terrorism as a system of justification; in order to provide possible solutions for the long-term elimination of Boko Haram as Nigerian government’s counter terrorism strategies merely based on military solutions have not been sufficient. The research manifests that these three aspects play a crucial role in order to understand terrorism. Psychological factors provide the most extensive explanatory approach for terrorism as such. However, for the case of Boko Haram the social structure in Nigeria, in form of structural violence, is the most determinant factor for the emergence and the sustained influence of Boko Haram. As a matter of fact, considering the multi-ethnical, cultural, and plural characteristics of the Nigerian society; Galtung’s development theory provides a possibility for a human centered security approach; in order to prevent the violation of fundamental human rights and the international humanitarian law, and subsequently to establish positive peace by peaceful means in Nigeria.
Second semester University: Ruhr - University Bochum
terrorism, human rights, Nigeria