The recent kidnapping of more than 300 young women in April 2014 and an additional eight girls on the 6th of May 2014 in Nigeria is a horrific and reprehensible act. It is also troubling that the kidnapped girls might have been moved out of Nigeria to neighboring countries, and therefore we call on the international community, especially African nations and the African Union, to work together to find these girls and unite them with their families.
The International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) is particularly concerned with the targeting of girls for abuse and neglect. Globally girls’ rights are the most in need of protection and they have a right to feel safe when they attend school. Children’s rights and the rights of girls are most importantly human rights, and every child has an absolute right to receive an education in a safe and protected environment.
Over the past several days countless people from around the globe have come together with one simple message: Bring Back Our Girls. These girls could be all of our daughters, our sisters, our nieces, or our friends. These kidnappings have touched people throughout the world, and people from every nation are protesting to raise awareness of this urgent human rights violation. They are saying prayers for the young women’s safety and are using their voices to bring this awful nightmare to an end
Abubakar Shekau, the leader of the Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram who has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping, referred to these young women as ‘slaves’ and threatened to sell them in the market.
This type of behavior is unacceptable and represents that which is repugnant, reprehensible and unacceptable. Boko Haram’s words and actions run afoul of Islam, international law, and basic humanity.
IFSW fully and wholeheartedly supports those governments and individuals around the world who are protesting and putting pressure on their governments to work with the Nigerian government “To Bring Back Our Girls”, and we look forward to these girls safely returning to their families and to their homes.
Dr. Gary Bailey,MSW,ACSW
President, International Federation of Social Workers