Joint statement on the abduction of school girls in Borno State, Nigeria
17 April 2014
Joint statement by UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zainab Hawa Bangura, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, and UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict Leila Zerrougui.
We are extremely concerned by the recent abduction of some 100, 12 to 17-year-old girls who were taken from their school hostel in Chibok, Borno State, in Nigeria on the night of 14th April. Attacks against the liberty of children and the targeting of schools are prohibited under international law and cannot be justified under any circumstances.
We urge those who are responsible for their abduction to release them unharmed, and return them safely to their families, where they rightfully belong.
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 so that they can play their rightful role as equal citizens of the world. Women and girls have the right to live free from intimidation, persecution and all other forms of discrimination.
We stand with the Nigerian people, especially the parents and families of the abducted girls.