Today is a global day of action to amplify calls to #BringBackOurGirls. Today marks one month since heavily armed attackers stormed the Secondary School in Chibok, Nigeria and abducted over 300 girls with additional girls abducted thereafter. Latest reports indicate that the schoolgirls are now being used to negotiate the exchange of imprisoned Boko Haram members.
We condemn in the strongest possible terms the abduction, proposed sale of young girls and the bombing that killed hundreds on May 7th, as well as the abductions and killing of students in previous months. Wedenounce the sluggish response of the Government of Nigeria to take action to rescue these girls.
Abducting and the killing children is an unconscionable act and a crime against humanity. It is therefore unacceptable that the highest office in Nigeria took over two weeks to issue a response to these tragedies. The families of these children deserve the undivided attention and tenacity of leaders in ensuring the safe and immediate return of these children.
We urgently call on the Government of Nigeria to:
- Take immediate action to locate and rescue the girls
- Prosecute those responsible for the girls’ abduction and exploitation
- Provide psychosocial support services for the survivors, their families and their communities
- Rebuild the schools and reaffirm the girls’ rights to safety, security and education as a process of restoring their dignity
- Take steps to ensure schools and public places are safe spaces
- Immediately institute, in consultation with civil society, measures to protect the safety and human rights of women and girls throughout Nigeria, which are further endangered by the volatile political situation in conflict areas
- Guarantee the safety and security of the families who have been internally displaced, as a result of the ongoing conflict in the region
Additionally, we call for the urgent action and support of:
- Governments of Cameroon, Chad and Niger to swiftly determine whether the girls were transported into their countries and to assist in their safe rescue.
- The African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to provide substantive support to the Nigerian Government to address the underlying systemic issues, including the climate of violence and insecurity in which groups like Boko Haram thrive.
- The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights to investigate the crimes against humanity and bring the perpetrators to justice according to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights that calls for the protection of human rights and freedom from all forms of violence including sexual violence.
There are simultaneous and solidarity actions taking place today across the continent to #BringBackOurGirls. Citizens of conscience are taking a stand against increasing fundamentalisms, militarism and oppressive systems of patriarchy and domination which perpetuate injustice. In this vein, we also call for the release of thousands detained in Kaserani in the pretext of fighting terror. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. As citizens of a global community, we march collectively for the dignity, respect and justice for all.
‘We are racing against time and every moment counts.’ #BringBackOurGirls