It was one year ago today. And it’s not an anniversary we want to celebrate.
One year ago today, 276 girls were abducted in Chibok, kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria. Along with these girls, the terrorist group has abducted other children and devastated the region.
Today, the UN, along with African human rights experts, called for steps to bring back the girls and the other children who were stolen from their homes. “Nigeria must hold the perpetrators accountable, while respecting international human rights norms and standards,” reads their statement in part.
There has been no progress over the course of the last year in attempts to get these children back. So far, only 57 girls have managed to escape. The others are held in peril of being sold into the sex trade or forced into marriages.
While the recent elections in Nigeria were peaceful, the people newly elected have two important jobs in front of them: get these girls home as well as the other children (boys, forced into joining the army and being used as targets or suicide bombers) and safeguarding schools and dormitories where children are at high risk.
The statement includes a sentence that gives me pause, because it’s so diplomatic about something so evident: “Forced marriages and subsequent rapes of girls as well as sexual slavery could amount to crimes against humanity.” I question the “could amount to crimes against humanity” only because it’s patently obvious that these are indeed crimes against humanity—and against the most vulnerable of humans: children.
Please don’t let this story fade away in the next cycle of what the celebrities are doing. Follow the UN on social media and the Universal Human Rights Index at http://uhri.ohchr.org/en and make sure the girls are not forgotten.
Author: Pat Perrier
Editor: Travis May
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