GENEVA (9 May 2017) – A group of United Nations human rights experts today welcomed the release of 82 Chibok girls from Boko Haram captivity, and called on the Government of Nigeria and the international community to take all necessary steps to ensure the timely release of those under Boko Haram captivity and to provide support to the girls to ensure their rehabilitation and reintegration in full respect of their human rights.
“This is a significant step forward and we commend the Nigerian Government and all those involved in the release of the girls. We hope these girls will be soon reunited with their loved ones” said the UN Special Rapporteurs on sale of children, Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, on slavery, Urmila Bhoola, and on the right to health, Dainius Pûras, who visited* Nigeria in 2016.
“However we must not forget about all the other children and other victims, who continue to live in captivity under Boko Haram control,” the experts said.
Recalling that over three years after the violent raid in the village of Chibok, 115 of the 276 students abducted are still missing, the experts remain deeply concerned about the plight of the girls still in captivity and their families.
“Ensuring the release all those captured is urgent and we cannot allow for anyone to be forgotten,” stressed the experts. In that regard, the Special Rapporteurs urged the Nigerian Government to swiftly take all necessary measures to locate them and ensure their safe return.
Following the release of the latest 82 girls, the human rights experts also re-iterated calls made after 21 girls were freed in October 2016 for all Nigerians to stand strong to support those released. “Release is just a first step in the long journey of recovery and rehabilitation,” the experts underscored.
“The Government of Nigeria and other stakeholders must ensure that the services these girls need, including psycho-social and other health services and information on livelihood opportunities, as well as access to remedies, are available” they noted.
“Moreover,” the UN Special Rapporteurs stressed, “Nigeria must hold the perpetrators accountable, while respecting international human rights norms and standards.”
The Special Rapporteurs and Working Groups are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.
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