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UN experts mark third anniversary of Nigeria kidnapping with new plea for “forgotten” Chibok girls

Chibok girls kidnaping – Third anniversary, 14 April 2017

GENEVA (12 April 2017) – A fresh appeal is being made to the Nigerian Government by UN human rights experts* to take all necessary measures to rescue 195 girls still missing after they were kidnapped in 2014 from their secondary school in Chibok, northeastern Nigeria.

“It is deeply shocking that three years after this deplorable and devastating act of violence, the majority of the girls remain missing,” said the UN Special Rapporteurs, who visited Nigeria last year.

The girls were among 276 students abducted at gunpoint on 14 April 2014 by the Boko Haram militant group. The experts welcomed the release of 21 of the captives in October 2016 as “a positive step forward and a chance for them to start their long journey to recovery and rehabilitation”.

But they stressed: “As more and more time passes there is a risk that the fate of the remaining girls will be forgotten. We cannot allow this to happen. There must be more that the Government of Nigeria, with the support of the international community, can do to locate and rescue them.

“Their continued captivity is a source of immense pain for their families and communities, and is simply unacceptable,” the experts added.

“We must also remember that the Chibok girls are not the only ones who have been suffering such violence at the hands of Boko Haram. As outlined in the report produced after our visit to Nigeria, thousands of women and children are thought to have been abducted since 2012.

“We must make sure that all possible measures are taken to locate and rescue all of them from abuse at the hands of Boko Haram,” they said.

“It is also vital to remember that release is just the first step that the Chibok girls and others captured by Boko Haram must take in order to start rebuilding their lives. Rehabilitation and reintegration is not easy and we must ensure that all those rescued are provided with all necessary support. This must include working with the communities and securing access to justice.

“A comprehensive approach to addressing challenges in northeastern Nigeria would provide an opportunity not only to reintegrate the women and children affected by Boko Haram but also to strengthen the health and educational sectors which are crucial for peace, security and sustainable development in Nigeria,” concluded the experts.

(*) The UN experts: Ms. Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, Special Rapporteur on the sale of children; Ms. Urmila Bhoola, Special Rapporteur on slavery; Mr. Dainius Pūras, Special Rapporteur on the right to health; Ms. Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children; Ms. Dubravka Šimonović, Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences; and Ms. Alda Facio, current Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice.

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.

UN Human Rights, country page: Nigeria

For more information and media requests please contact Ms. Eleanor Robb (+41 22 917 9800 / erobb@ohchr.org)

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)

You can access this news release online

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