Legal Mechanisms for the Effective Protection of Conflict-Induced Internally Displaced Women in Nigeria From Sexual Violence

Student thesis: Phd


The soaring problem of internal displacement in Nigeria, particularly as a result of the activities of the Boko Haram sect, the government’s response, and the prevalence of sexual violence in the internally displaced persons’ camps, raises questions about the adequacy of the national, regional and international human rights framework for the protection of internally displaced women in Nigeria. The gravity of the problem of sexual violence against female conflict- induced displacees in Nigeria has inspired this discussion on the extent of physical and material protection available to them under the auspices of human rights law. The practicality of the available normative standards and the challenges of implementation have been explored in this thesis. Over the course of the discussions, specific socio-cultural factors and the political milieu that foster the hostility or insensitivity of the government and other involved parties were considered while weighing plausible mechanisms to address the situation. This thesis first identifies areas in which available law provides insufficient protection, owing to inexplicit articulation or normative gaps before proffering possible solutions to ensuring the effective protection and assistance of these women caught in displacement within their own country. Internal displacement, sexual violence and terrorism/counter-terrorism are problematic areas of law and policy independently of each other, and far more complex when intersecting. To facilitate discussions, a doctrinal legal research method was adopted with a focus on human rights principles and legislation. This process transcended a simple description of the law to a mixture of interpretive and critical analysis that involved the questioning of the appropriateness of the doctrines developed to address the problems of sexual violence faced by women living in displacement. This analysis resulted in an appreciation of the issue of sexual violence against women during conflict and displacement and the legal responses required to address it. The whole essence resides in its potential to draw attention to a set of concerns that otherwise may have been disregarded. In the end, this thesis contributes to existing scholarship and the burgeoning legal and political debate on how best to address the problem of sexual violence by focusing attention on human rights law as it relates to the plight of female victims of sexual violence in IDP camps in Nigeria.
Date of Award1 Aug 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorGraham Smith (Supervisor)


  • Internal Displacement
  • Human Rights
  • Sexual Violence

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