Adolescent girls

Nigeria: #BringBackOurGirls

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2014 May 9
Update: 

TAKE ACTION NOW TO #BRINGBACKOURGIRLS!

8 OCTOBER 2014 UPDATE: In July, the Nigerian Ministry of the Interior responded to our letter calling for increased efforts to rescue the abducted Chibok school girls and to eradicate terrorism (read letter here). However, despite declarations of behind the scenes efforts, international collaboration, and increased security measures, six months have passed and not one girl has been rescued. To date, 219 girls are still missing, and the 57 girls who escaped, did so on their own. In fact, Boko Haram has abducted additional girls, women and boys since April.

We have taken the issue up using various United Nations and African Commission human rights procedures and continue to keep the discussion going on our networks. On 13 October – following the 11 October international recognition of the Day of the Girl Child -- Equality Now, the Solidarity for African Women’s Rights Coalition (SOAWR) and FEMNET, will hold a solidarity vigil to mark six months since the girls’ abduction. The vigil will be held in Nairobi, Kenya, bringing together civil society, expert guest speakers and artists. In addition, 11-18 October will be Global Week of Action. We are not giving up on the girls and we hope you will do the same. Please renew the call to hold the governments accountable and to keep global attention on the issue. Thank you for your support.


TAKE ACTION NOW TO #BRINGBACKOURGIRLS!

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What You Can Do: 

TAKE ACTION NOW TO #BRINGBACKOURGIRLS! << Click on this link to send all letters below online.

Please join Equality Now and our Nigerian partners, WRAPA, Echoes of Women in Africa, Women for Justice and Peace, and Alliances for Africa, in urgently calling on the Government of Nigeria to: 

  • Take immediate action to locate and rescue the girls and provide them with support services upon their return
  • Prosecute those responsible for the girls’ abduction and exploitation
  • Take steps to protect schools from attacks so that they are safe places to learn
  • Immediately institute, in consultation with women’s rights organizations, measures to protect the safety and human rights of women and girls throughout Nigeria, which are further endangered by the volatile political situation in the conflict areas

Additionally, call on the Governments of Cameroon and Chad to swiftly determine whether the girls were transported into their countries and to assist in their rescue.

(You can also re-tweet and share messages from our Twitter or Facebook pages in the global #BringBackOurGirls campaign.)

LETTER #1

H.E. President Goodluck Jonathan
President of  Nigeria
Aso Rock Presidential Villa
Abuja, Nigeria
cc: Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations
Email: permny@nigeriaunmission.org

Comrade Abba Moro
Minister Of Interior
Block F, Old Secretariat, Garki Area 1, PMB 7007, Garki, Abuja, Nigeria
Email: info@interior.gov.ng

Aliyu Gusau
Minister of Defense
Ship House, Area 10, Garki, Abuja, Nigeria
Fax:  +234 9 234 0714

Mohammed Bello Adoke
Attorney General
Federal Ministry of Justice
Shehu Shagari Way, Central Area
Abuja, Nigeria
Telephone: +234 9 523 5208
Fax: +234 9 523 5194
Email: info@justice.gov.ng

Hon. Aminu Tambuwal
Speaker of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of Nigeria
National Assembly Complex
Three Arms Zone
Abuja, Nigeria
Email: hon.aminu.tambuwal@nass.gov.ng
Twitter: @SpeakerTambuwal

Hajiya Zainab Maina
Minister of Women Affairs
Federal Ministry of Women Affairs
Annex 3, New Federal Secretariat, Shehu Shagari Way, Central Area, P.M.B. 229 Garki
Abuja, Nigeria
Fax: +234 9 5233644
enquiries@womenaffairs.gov.ng

Dr. James N. Obiegbu
Permanent Secretary
Federal Ministry of Police Affairs,
8th Fl., Federal Secretariat Complex, Shehu Shagari Way,
Maitama
Abuja, Nigeria
emergency@policeaffairs.gov.ng

Senator David Mark
President of the Senate of the National Assembly of Nigeria
National Assembly Complex
Three Arms Zone
Abuja, Nigeria
hon.david.mark@nass.gov.ng

LETTER #2

H.E. President Paul Biya
President of the Republic of Cameroon
P.O. Box 1000
Yaoundé, Cameroon
cellcom@prc.cm
@PR_Paul_Biya
cc: Permanent Mission of Cameroon to the United Nations
cameroon.mission@yahoo.com

H.E. President Idriss Déby
President of Chad
P.O. Box 74
N’Djamena, Chad
Tel: +235 514 437
Fax: +235 514 501
cc: Permanent Mission of Chad to the United Nations
chadmission@gmail.com

Letters: 

LETTER #1

Dear President, Minister, Attorney General, Permanent Secretary, Senator, Speaker, Inspector General:

I urge you to listen to the people protesting in Nigeria – and around the globe – and  take immediate action to “Bring Back Our Girls.” Every day they remain missing puts them at greater risk.

The abduction of nearly 300 Chibok schoolgirls by Boko Haram in April, eight more girls in May, and the reported sale of some of the girls into marriage and sexual slavery, constitute egregious human rights violations. According to the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, it may also constitute a crime against humanity. So far, your efforts to rescue the girls have fallen desperately short, which sends the message that girls and women can be sold, commodified, and used as political currency. To date, not one girl has been rescued. 57 girls have escaped on their own, leaving 219 girls still in captivity. Until and unless the Nigerian government and other actors in the conflict in Nigeria place greater value on the worth of girls and women as human beings, and take comprehensive measures to protect them from all forms of violence, they will face an ongoing and heightened risk of such abuses.

Nigeria has ratified several international and regional human rights instruments that affirm the State’s responsibility to protect women and girls from all forms of gender based violence, and specifically call on Nigeria to protect girls from trafficking and harmful practices such as child marriage. They also require that  girls’ rights to education be  upheld.

I join Equality Now, the Solidarity for African Women’s Rights coalition, Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative, Echoes of Women in Africa, Women for Justice and Peace, Alliances for Africa, and the Enough is Enough Nigeria Coalition in calling on you to ensure the safety of girls and women in the current conflict in Nigeria by:

1.    Taking immediate action to locate and rescue the missing girls and providing rehabilitation and support for them upon their return;
2.    Prosecuting those responsible for their abduction and exploitation;
3.    Take steps to protect schools from attacks so that they are safe places to learn; and by
4.    Immediately instituting, in consultation with local women’s rights organizations, measures to protect the safety and human rights of women and girls throughout the country, which are further endangered by the volatile political situation in conflict areas in Nigeria.
 
Thank you for your urgent attention.

Yours sincerely,
 


 LETTER #2

Dear President,

According to reports, some of the nearly 300 Nigerian schoolgirls that were abducted in April by Boko Haram  may have been brought into your country and subjected to sexual slavery and forced marriage. I therefore strongly  urge you to  take immediate action to assist in locating and  rescuing the girls. Every day they remain missing puts them at greater risk.

The abduction and trafficking of   the Chibok schoolgirls and the eight additional  girls who were kidnapped in May in Borno State, Nigeria, constitute egregious human rights violations. According to the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, selling the girls into slavery could also constitute crimes against humanity. So far, the efforts to rescue the girls have fallen desperately short, which sends the message that girls and women can be sold, commodified, and used as political currency.

I join Equality Now, the Solidarity for African Women’s Rights coalition, Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative, Echoes of Women in Africa, Women for Justice and Peace, Alliances for Africa, and the Enough is Enough Nigeria Coalition in calling on you to take immediate action to assist Nigeria in the locating and  safe return of the girls and the prosecution and/or extradition of those responsible for their abduction and exploitation.

Your country  has ratified several international and regional human rights instruments that affirm the State’s responsibility to protect women and girls from all forms of gender based violence, and specifically call for the protection of girls from trafficking and harmful practices such as child marriage. I respectfully ask that you honor your country’s obligations.

Thank you for your urgent attention.

Yours sincerely,

Girls for sale: “A Day in the Life" (Thomson Reuters)

3/26/2014 -- Thomson Reuters -- "Girls for sale: 'A Day in the Life'"

A diverse, fresh-faced group, the 20 American girls standing still and expressionless on stage create a striking opening tableau. Between the ages of 13 and 17, they could be anyone’s daughter or sister or cousin - or any sex trafficker’s prey. [read more...]

Egyptian doctor to stand trial over girl’s "FGM death" (Reuters)

3/17/2014 -- Reuters -- "Egyptian doctor to stand trial over girl’s 'FGM death'"

“Egypt has the highest number of women affected by #FGM in the world and the government has never really come down heavily before,” said Suad Abu-Dayyeh, Equality Now’s Middle East and North Africa consultant. [read more...]

Egypt launches first prosecution for female genital mutilation after girl dies (Guardian)

3/14/2014 -- The Guardian -- "Egypt launches first prosecution for female genital mutilation after girl dies" On the case of 13-year-old Sohair Al-Batea who died after Dr. Raslan Fadl allegedly performed female genital mutilation (FGM) on her at her father’s request in a clinic north-east of Cairo.

Sudan: Change the law – allow victims of sexual violence to access justice

Update: 
Not an update
Date: 
2014 Mar 13
Update: 

TAKE ACTION NOW! << Click on this link to send all letters below online.

11 SEPTEMBER 2014 UPDATE: Following our calls on government officials and our June submission to the Human Rights Committee, the State has since provided the young woman with medical attention (she gave birth in June). Additionally, she no longer faces deportation as the immigration charges were suspended. Equality Now continues to pursue all angles to ensure justice for the young survivor and an amendment of Sudan’s rape and public order laws.

Please continue to lend your voice to the call for all criminal charges against her to be dropped. Thank you for your support! 


view as pdf

What You Can Do: 

TAKE ACTION NOW! << Click on this link to send all letters below online.

Join Equality Now in calling for justice for all survivors and victims of sexual violence in Sudan.
Please take urgent action today by writing to the officials below to demand that:

  • The prosecution drop all criminal charges against the young woman, and cease any legal action to deport her to Ethiopia.
  • The young woman is promptly provided with adequate medical and psychological support as a victim and survivor of sexual violence.
  • Immediate steps are taken to amend the Sudan Criminal Act of 1991 and the Sudan Evidence Act of 1994 to prevent the criminalization of sexual violence victims, and to ensure that women and girls who have been raped receive equal protection under the law in accordance with Sudan’s international obligations.

President Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir
Office of the President
People’s Palace
PO Box 281
Khartoum, Sudan

H.E. Mohammed Bushara Dousa
Minister of Justice
Ministry of Justice
Justice Towers
Gamhoria Street
PO Box 302
Khartoum, Sudan
Email: moj@moj.gov.sd

H.E. Fatih Ezzidin Ahmed Speaker of the National Assembly
The Peoples Hall Omdurman
PO Box 14416, Khartoum, Sudan
Fax: 00249 187 560 950 Emails: info@parliament.gov.sd
sudanipg@parliament.gov.sd

H.E. Mashair Aldawalab
Minster of Welfare & Social Security
Ministry of Welfare & Social Security (General Directorate for Women & Family Affairs)
PO Box: 12661
Khartoum, Sudan
Fax: 83777633
Emails: info@gdwfa.gov.sd

H.E. Ali Ahmed Karti
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
PO Box 873
Khartoum, Sudan

Letters: 

Dear President/Minister/Speaker,

I am deeply concerned by the overwhelming challenges women and girls face when seeking justice   for rape and sexual violence in Sudan. I am particularly disturbed by the brutal August 2013 gang rape of a 19-year-old pregnant and divorced Ethiopian woman by seven men in Omdurman. I was outraged to learn that a victim of sexual violence was re-victimized by the very judicial system that should be seeking justice for her. This was tragically demonstrated by her arrest alongside the perpetrators who raped her, her detainment, the various charges levied against her, and her subsequent guilty charge and sentence for committing indecent acts. This case highlights the tremendous challenges victims face victims and the urgent need for legal reform, especially to article 149 of the criminal code referring to rape.

Under current laws, when a woman or girl reports she has been raped, she also exposes herself to possible prosecution. Effectively, a victim has to prove her own innocence by demonstrating that the encounter was non-consensual. If she fails to do so, she is liable to be prosecuted for adultery (zina). The law lacks clear guidelines on its interpretation and implementation, which allows judges wide discretion that is often unjust to victims seeking redress through the criminal justice system. In this case, even with filmed evidence of the rape, the victim was still found guilty of indecent acts. All these factors, combined with the traumatic stigma and fear of community reprisals, often deter women and girls from reporting crimes of sexual violence and make it very difficult for them to achieve justice even if they do.

Sudan is obligated in its interim constitution of 2005 and under several international conventions to ensure that men and women are treated equally under the law and to prevent victims from being criminalized. The Interim National Constitution of the Republic of Sudan in article 28 of its Bill of Rights states that “Every human being has the inherent right to life, dignity and the integrity of his/her person, which shall be protected by law” and in article 31 that “all persons are equal before the law and are entitled without discrimination, as to . . . sex . . . to the equal protection of the law.” Both the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) echo these rights and state, “(1) Every individual shall be equal before the law and (2) Every individual shall be entitled to equal protection of the law.” The African Charter and the ICCPR prohibit “cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment and treatment,” but Sudan violates this article when it punishes sexual violence victims by charging them with adultery.

I join Equality Now in calling for justice for all survivors and victims of sexual violence in Sudan. I urge Sudanese authorities to take urgent action in accordance with Sudan’s international, regional and domestic obligations to ensure that:

  • The prosecution drops all criminal charges against the young woman, and ceases any legal action to deport her to Ethiopia.
  • The young woman is promptly provided with adequate medical and psychological support as a victim and survivor of sexual violence.
  • Immediate steps are taken to amend the Sudan Criminal Act of 1991 and the Sudan Evidence Act of 1994 to prevent the criminalization of sexual violence victims, and to ensure that women and girls who have been raped receive equal protection under the law in accordance with Sudan’s international obligations.

Thank you for your attention.

Yours sincerely,

When Girls Are Part of the Solution Everyone Benefits (Huffington Post)

3/7/2014 -- Huffington Post -- "When Girls Are Part of the Solution Everyone Benefits" New York office Director Lauren Hersh on Project Impact, an arts-based leadership workshop for teen trafficking survivors.

Ending child marriage helps break cycle of violence and discrimination (Girls Not Brides)

2/18/2014 -- Girls Not Brides -- "Ending child marriage helps break cycle of violence and discrimination"

Liloe was 14 when she fled to the Tasaru Rescue Centre in Narok, Kenya to escape #FGM and early marriage. Staff from the centre, which is supported by Equality Now, with funds from Comic Relief, arranged a reconciliation with her family and her mother made a promise not to mutilate her or marry her off.

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