Statement in Support and Solidarity with the Abducted Girls of the Government Girls School, Chibok, Nigeria

Washington, D.C. – On May 9, 2014, a coalition of faith-based, human rights groups, and members of the Nigerian Diaspora in the United States will hold a vigil in Farragut Square NW in support of the abducted school girls of the Government Girls School in Chibok, Nigeria and to show solidarity with the families of the girls.

The participating groups add their voices to demonstrations that have taken place in Nigeria and around the world and together are calling for:

  • The members of Boko Haram to immediately and unconditionally release all of the abducted girls and end abductions and other attacks against civilians;
  • The Nigerian government to meet its obligations to protect the human rights of all people living in Nigeria, in particular the rights of women and girls including the rights to education, and to be free from discrimination, slavery, and other forms of violence; and,
  • The Nigerian government to bring to justice persons suspected of committing human rights abuses whether from armed opposition groups like Boko Haram or from the Nigerian security forces.

We send the families of the girls our hopes for their safe release and our commitment to keep the spotlight and international pressure on resolving this crisis.

The vigil will be held from 12:30 – 2:00pm. For more information please contact: Adotei Akwei (AIUSA): (202) 509-8148, Emira Woods(IPS) 202-234-9382, Jaques Bahati (AFJN): 202-817-3670

Background:
On April 14 the armed group Boko Haram abducted nearly 300 school girls in Chibok, Nigeria. The group —whose name translates as a call to ban “Western” education – has carried out similar abductions on a smaller scale in the past and has been waging a brutal insurgency in northeastern Nigeria. The Nigerian military has also committed abuses in its response to Boko Haram’s attacks. Since 2009, as many as 5,000 people have died as a result of the conflict, over 1,500 people between January and March of 2014 alone.

Three weeks after the April 14 abductions, the Nigerian government has yet to take action, and reports of the girls being sold into slavery are growing.

Sponsoring Organizations: Africa Faith and Justice Network, Foreign Policy in Focus/IPS, Amnesty International USA, the Voices of Women and Children in Africa and Diaspora, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Muslim Public Affairs Council, Just Associates, American Islamic Committee for Woman&Child, CompareAfrique, Howard University Graduate Students, and Sahara Reporters.