Statement of the Executive Director of UN Women on the one-year anniversary of the Chibok kidnappings

Date: 14 April 2015

Today marks one year since the terrorist group Boko Haram abducted 276 teenage girls from their school hostel in Chibok, Borno State, in Nigeria. The majority remain captive, their whereabouts unknown.

We call for those who are responsible for their abduction to release them unharmed, and return them safely to their families.

We cannot let the fact that a year has passed erase or ease the horror of what happened in Chibok. Over 200 of the girls are still missing, and we continue to see the deliberate targeting of the rights of women and girls by extremist groups in Nigeria, and around the world.

Systematically stripped of their rights to education, public life, and decision-making over their own bodies, women and girls are made to undergo horrific sexual violence, are often forced into marrying their captors, and in different parts of the world are increasingly used as suicide bombers.

The one-year duration of the Chibok girls’ imprisonment is a stark reminder of the ongoing impunity that accompanies this violence – in the year that has passed it is the girls who have suffered – not their captors. Such freedom from consequences must not continue.

The global community must work together to scale up the speed and intensity of their response to the Chibok abductions.

We urge the international community to adopt a coordinated response that addresses the drivers of extremist violence, building resilient families and communities. Military action must be combined with investment in good governance, sustainable development, conflict prevention and peacebuilding strategies that empower women as decision-makers and partners, and protect the rights of women and girls to education, justice and security.

We stand with the parents and families of the abducted girls, and with the Nigerian people. UN Women will continue to support the Government of Nigeria and the global community to find and return the girls to safety, to provide the support and services needed for survivors to rebuild their lives, and to counter and prevent the spread of extremist violence.