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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

UN expert committee urges release
of abducted Nigerian school girls  

UNITED NATIONS, (Xinhua) -- The United Nations expert committee tasked with monitoring discrimination against women on Wednesday added its voice to the chorus of condemnation of the abduction of more than 200 girls from their school in northeastern Nigeria and called for their immediate release.

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women expressed deep concern about the fate of the girls, who were abducted on April 14 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.

Nicole Ameline, chairperson of the committee, said that the body considers that this large-scale abduction from an educational institution for enslavement constitutes a direct violation 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.

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,” she said.

Also on Wednesday, the high-level representative of the UN secretary-general to Nigeria, Said Djinnit, met with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan in the capital of Abuja, following his Tuesday meetings 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 Stephane Dujarric told reporters at UN Headquarters in New York.

Meanwhile, 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 said. “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.”

These Nigerian girls were abducted exactly a month ago in their hostels by gunmen who stormed the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok Town, Borno State. Boko Haram, a sect which partly seeks to abolish Western education in Nigeria, claimed responsibility for the abduction more than a week ago and threatened to sell off the girls.

Many international bodies had offered assistance to Nigeria, following the mass abduction. A worldwide campaign Bring Back Our Girls had also been calling for the unconditional release of the school girls.

Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, is currently grappling with security challenges, one of which is the insurgency of Boko Haram, which also seeks to enshrine the Islamic Sharia law in the constitution.

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S. African organization demands immediate
release of kidnapped Nigerian school girls

JOHANNESBURG, (Xinhua)-- South Africa’s African National Congress (ANC) Women’s League on Tuesday added their voice to a call for the release of kidnapped Nigerian school girls.

Islamist militant Boko Haram abducted more than 200 girls from a school in northern Nigeria on 14 April.

“The kidnapping of these girls is a travesty of human rights and justice,” ANCWL President Angie Motshekga said. “As women of the African continent we need to come together and combine our efforts until these girls are home,” she added.

The South African Commission for Gender Equality (SACGE) is also calling on the African Union (AU) and international community to act together on the mater.

In a bid to find common strategy ANCWL will on Friday hold a women’s multi-sectoral workshop of in Johannesburg to discuss best actions can South Africa undertake to help Nigeria to bring back the girls.

The workshop will be addressed by government representatives from the Department of International Relations and Cooperation ( DIRCO) to ensure plans adopted are in-line with updated information.

Motshekga said that later this week a delegation of South African women will be sent to Nigeria to meet with Nigeria women’s organizations and assist the release of the girls.

“We are hoping that if we put our heads together as women we can come up with solutions or ways to assist Nigerian women in their efforts. These are our daughters and we need to come together in times like these,” said Motshekga.

On Monday Boko Haram released a video showing the girls. In the video Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau said the children would be held until all imprisoned militants had been freed.

South Africa is behind “The Bring Back Our Girls Campaign” being led by eminent persons across the globe and endorsed by various nations.

“We cannot allow our communities to be ruled by fear of terror. A strong message has to be sent that Boko Haram and other similar bodies have no place in communities and in the modern world,” SACGE Chairperson Mfanozelwe Shozi said.

The Boko Haram militants have been engaged in terrorism activities against the Nigerian government since 2009.

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Sri Lanka slams abduction of Nigerian schoolgirls

COLOMBO, (Xinhua) -- Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, on Tuesday, slammed the abduction of over 200 school girls from a Nigerian school which he said has shocked the conscience of the world and invited universal opprobrium.

The President’s Office said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa, in a letter to Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, has said the incident is reminiscent of a particularly ignominious chapter in Sri Lanka’s own recent history, when the Tamil Tiger rebels carried out a systematic and forcible recruitment campaign of children to its “Baby Brigade” and coerced them into taking up arms against the government.

“It is almost a month since the terrorist group, Boko Haram abducted over 250 female students from a boarding school in Chibok Town in north-eastern Nigeria, a situation which I have followed with much pain of mind. The Government of Sri Lanka denounces this dastardly act which has shocked the conscience of the world and invited universal opprobrium. Terrorism took away all the rights of the young people in Sri Lanka during that time, and now they have all been restored through the concerted action of my government,” President Rajapaksa said.

He also said that Sri Lanka, also as Chair-in-Office of the Commonwealth, stands firmly in solidarity with the government and people of Nigeria, which is a fellow member, in their relentless efforts to secure the safe return of these innocent victims of terror and be reunited with their families.

Rajapaksa said the abduction of girls by the Boko Haram is an abominable act of terrorism, perpetrators of which should not go unpunished. He said the incident clearly demonstrates the urgent need for decisive and concerted efforts by the international community to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

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WCY delegates urge rescue of kidnapped girls in Nigeria

COLOMBO,  (Xinhua) -- Dozens of delegates of the World Conference of Youth 2014 on Friday urged the Nigerian government and the international community to rescue kidnapped schoolgirls in the west African country.

The young delegates protested against the Nigerian government’s failure to take action over abduction of 234 Nigerian schoolgirls by extremist Islamic group Boko Haram last month in Chibok, Nigeria.

Claiming the girls as “slaves”, the group threatened to sell them “in the market” and “marry them off.”

“Three weeks has gone since the kidnap happened,” shouted a delegate. “This is not an issue of Nigeria, but a crisis of the world.”

The terror incident has already drawn condemnation and pledges of help from the international community as the victims’ families and the Nigerian people demand the group return the girls unharmed to their communities.

It is a peaceful march of young people to find their responsibilities of the conference to do something meaningful and sent a message to the international community, said Aya Chebbi, a delegate from Tunisia, taking a piece of paper that read “Bring back our girls.”

The incident was not a local issue, Aya said. “It is not only about Nigeria, it is about girls all over the world.. We want to use this case to talk about their rights of security, rights of education and rights of going to school safely.”

“We want the girls to be found and be brought home safely,” she told Xinhua, adding the abductors are not human beings.

Tolulope Daramola, a delegate from Nigeria, told Xinhua that they “just want to say that these girls are not animals, they are human beings. We want international community to rise up and do something. It’s simple.”

.

International women judges body condemns abduction of Nigerian school girls

ARUSHA, Tanzania, (Xinhua) -- The International Women Judges Association (IAWJ) on Thursday condemned the recent abduction of Nigerian schoolgirls by Boko Haram, appealing the international community to take practical actions in addressing the vice.

“Those girls are innocent, as women judges we condemn this barbaric incident. The children are denied access to basic rights like education and freedom,” said Eunice Munuo, the former IAWJ President.

The retired Tanzanian Judge was speaking in Arusha at the end of the five-day 12th biennial conference, which kick-started on Monday, this week.

Munuo said IAWJ is very concerned with what happened to those school girls, calling the perpetuators to stop from doing the vice.

Three weeks ago more than 200 schoolgirls were kidnapped by Islamic extremists in Chibok, Nigeria, a town in the north-eastern part of the country and 276 girls are still missing.

The girls were taken in the dark of night from their dormitory when armed men burst into the Chibok Government Girls Secondary School.

Second Vice President of Zanzibar Seif Ally Idd also joined hands with women judges, saying what is happening in Nigeria shouldn’t be tolerated anymore.

Idd said the Nigerian abductions should be condemned by the entire world and “this is a sign that women and children are still victims of gender-based violence across the world and Africa at large.”

Idd urged women judges to take practical actions in saving the anguishing women from such barbaric experiences.

During the meeting Teresita Leonardo De Castro from Thailand was elected as the new IAWJ President, who replaces her Tanzanian counterpart Eusebia Munuo.

The next IAWJ meeting will be held in the United States in 2016.

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