Bring Back Our Girls rally

Nigeria: #BringBackOurGirls

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Date: 
9 May 2014

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“Girls are our future. Extremists know this and want to deprive the world of the hope adolescent girls embody. This is not only about Nigeria – it is about protecting the rights of every girl, everywhere to reach her fullest potential without the threat of violence.”
-Equality Now

It’s been more than three weeks since heavily armed attackers stormed the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, Nigeria and abducted nearly 300 girls during the night of 14-15 April. The majority of the schoolgirls have not been seen or heard from since and are feared to have been sold into “marriages” and sexual slavery in Nigeria, and potentially, in neighboring Cameroon and Chad. The militant group, Boko Haram, whose name roughly translates to “Western education is a sin,” reportedly claimed responsibility, stating, “Western education should end. Girls, you should go and get married…I will sell them in the marketplace.” In a further alarming development, early in the week of 4 May, suspected Boko Haram gunmen abducted at least eight more girls – some possibly as young as eight years old – from a village in Borno State, Nigeria. On 6 May, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights stated that such human rights violations – selling the abducted girls as slaves – could constitute “crimes against humanity.” So far, however, efforts to rescue the girls have fallen desperately short.

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

Women and men across Nigeria and around the world campaigned in the streets and on social media to protest the government’s failure to take action, sparking a global campaign to “Bring Back Our Girls.” Egregiously, it took weeks for Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan to publicly pledge to find the girls, after forming a “fact-finding committee” on 2 May, and reportedly, Nigerian First Lady, Patience Jonathan, ordered the arrest of protest leaders campaigning in support of the girls and their families on 5 May (on 6 May the President accepted international support to assist in the search).

Gender-based violence in Nigeria is on the rise and similar abductions have occurred in the past. Our Nigerian partner Women's Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA) is very concerned that they will continue to occur until Nigeria prioritizes and acts to protect the safety and rights of girls, particularly those in conflict regions. The failure to do so sends the message that girls and women can be bought and sold and used as political currency with impunity.

Nigeria has ratified international and regional human rights instruments that affirm the State’s responsibility to protect women and girls from sexual violence, including the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol), the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. These instruments specifically call on Nigeria to protect girls from trafficking and harmful cultural practices, including child marriage, and to ensure that girls’ right to education is upheld.

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.

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

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. 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, Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative , Echoes of Women in Africa, Women for Justice and Peace, and Alliances for Africa, 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, Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative , Echoes of Women in Africa, Women for Justice and Peace, and Alliances for Africa, 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,