We are extremely concerned that about 230 young girls aged between 16-18 were taken from their school on the night of 14th April 2014, and horrified that eight more girls were abducted on Monday, May 5, 2014 in the same province in Borno.
We send our sympathy to the families of the children, and urge those who are responsible for their abduction to release them unharmed, and return them to their families, where they rightfully belong.
Attacks against the liberty of children and targeting schools are prohibited under international law and cannot be justified under any circumstance. Not on our watch.
Schools are and must remain places of safety and security, where children can learn and grow in peace. Girls and young women must be allowed to go to school without fear of violence and unjust treatment and exercise their rightful role as equal citizens of the world. The Protocol to the African Charter on Human and on the Rights of Women in Africa, states, "Every woman shall have the right to respect as a person and to the free development of her personality". Women and girls have the right to live free from intimidation, persecution and all other forms of discrimination.
The Charter further stipulates that "States Parties shall adopt and implement appropriate measures to ensure the protection of every woman's right to respect for her dignity and protection of women from all forms of violence, particularly sexual and verbal violence".
We call on the Nigerian Government to urgently and decisively act to bring the children home to their families and protect them from further danger.
We stand with the Nigerian people, especially the parents and families of the abducted girls.
Source: African Union Commission, Chairperson's Special Envoy for Women, Peace and Security