Confront Boko Haram to #BringBackOurGirls in Chibok & Dapchi, Nigeria
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In 2014, the terrorist group Boko Haram abducted 276 schoolgirls in the middle of the night from their dormitories in Borno State in northeast Nigeria. Since that time, 57 escaped, 106 have been ransomed or released, but 113 are still missing. This garnered international attention at the time, but has not received the same level of media coverage since. This was also not the only instance of such abductions, as they had been happening for years, but the large number and high-profile nature was seized upon by Boko Haram leadership to gain notoriety and power for themselves. These incidents continue today...
Just recently (February 2018), another 93+ girls from the Bursari Government Girls Science Secondary School in Dapchi, Yobe State, northeast Nigeria were kidnapped by Boko Haram. These girls just wanted an education, to learn about science and live their lives. Now they are missing, and their families want them back.
Boko Haram, which roughly translates as "Western education is forbidden" in the Hausa language, uses armed violence to threaten communities, murder parents and schoolteachers, and force children into marriages by violent means. They have murdered over 20,000 people (including 2,295 schoolteachers), have destroyed almost 1,400 schools, and have displaced 2.3 million since 2009. 10,000 children have been unable to attend school as a result of activities by Boko Haram.
The Nigerian government has not done enough to bring kidnapped girls home safely. They have even been reluctant to involve international help at times, despite clear opportunities that were made available for rescues. Deals that have been brokered by journalists and non-governmental organizations were scrapped at the request of the Nigerian government. Instead, the government of Nigeria has spent over $1.2 million to shape their own "international and local media narrative". There are reports of the parents of these Dapchi girls being arrested or intimidated from talking to the media about this. Clearly the Nigerian government needs to do more.
The lives of these girls matter! We are demanding concrete action be taken by the Nigerian government and President Muhammadu Buhari to confront Boko Haram and stop the terror campaign of kidnapping, rape and murder. That the schoolgirls abducted be rescued by the government, as well as:
- Improved communications on Nigerian security happenings with daily briefings on the rescue of the abducted girls.
- Create communication channels that help inform the public on safety measures being taken to protect Nigerian citizens.
- Provision of rehabilitation services, such as counseling and healthcare, as well as witness protection, to all abducted girls who have escaped or been rescued.
- Take measures to ensure the protection of children of school age to curb future abductions and sexual violence.
- Passage of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Bill (VAPP BIll) that protects girls to ensure persecution of those responsible for sexual violence once captured.
#BringBackOurGirls #DapchiGirls #ChibokGirls
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