One month on, UN rights body urges release of abducted Nigerian school girls

15 May 2014 | News and Media

New York, 14 May 2014 – The United Nations expert committee tasked with monitoring discrimination against women today added its voice to the chorus of condemnation of the abduction of over 200 girls from their school in north-eastern Nigeria and called for their immediate release.

A view from a rally held in Lagos, calling for the return
of over two hundred Nigerian secondary school girls abducted in April by the extremist group Boka Haram.
UN Photo

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women expressed deep concern about the fate of the girls, who were abducted on 14 April during a violent raid by the militant group known as Boko Haram in the village of Chibok in Borno state.

“The Committee urges Nigeria to employ all necessary means to obtain the release of the girls and to bring to justice the perpetrators of this heinous crime,” the expert body said in a news release.

Chairperson Nicole Ameline stated that the Committee considers that this large-scale abduction from an educational institution for enslavement constitutes a direct violation of articles 5, 6 and 10 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women – worldwide implementation of which the Committee monitors – and may qualify as a crime against humanity.

She added that, according to General Recommendation No. 30, issued by the Committee in 2013, States must take measures “to prevent the occurrence of attacks and threats against school girls and their teachers; and ensure that perpetrators of such acts of violence are promptly investigated, prosecuted and punished.”

Meanwhile, the High-Level Representative of the Secretary-General to Nigeria, Said Djinnit, met today with President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja, following meetings yesterday with other senior Government officials.

“In these meetings, Mr. Djinnit explored with his counterparts the role of the UN in supporting Nigerian efforts towards the safe release of the girls. He explained that the UN is preparing a package to support the affected families and the girls after their release,” UN spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric told reporters in New York.

Also today, the Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Yury Fedotov, expressed his “revulsion” at the kidnapping of the girls, and offered his full support to the families and those involved in seeking to ensure their release.

“I hope that those responsible for these appalling acts will be swiftly apprehended, tried and imprisoned,” he stated. “It is vital that we send a clear message to all those who would kidnap, sell or buy human beings that we will never tolerate such actions. That, working together, we will do everything in our power to bring those involved to justice.”