Nigeria

Nigeria: UN official calls for immediate release of abducted schoolkids, with unprecedented level of incidents reported in recent months

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The UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Virginia Gamba, calls for the immediate release of all children abducted, including in the most recent incident in Nigeria in which presumably 80 schoolkids were taken from a school in the state of Kebbi.

This call comes as today marks the sixth anniversary of the inclusion of abduction of children as a trigger to list parties to armed conflict in the annexes of the UN Secretary-General Annual Report on children and armed conflict (SCR 2225).

Furthermore, the abduction of children was the fastest growing grave violation against children in situations of armed conflict in 2020 and this recent incident is yet another example of this outrageous tactic to terrorize boys, girls, families, and communities. This increasing trend in incidents is raising further concerns as the abduction of boys and girls is often the first of many violations such as recruitment and use or sexual violence.

“Even when only abducted for a few days by perpetrators for ransom or other purposes, abducted children are marked for life as this is an incredibly vicious violation, causing long-term physical and psychological damage to the victims,” said Virginia Gamba. “We must provide survivors with the appropriate support so they can recover and be successfully reintegrated into their society.”

Around 1,000 boys and girls have been reported abducted by armed elements in recent months in Nigeria, in areas outside the conflict affected north-east. While Nigeria remains committed to the Safe Schools Declaration, as signatory and host of the upcoming Fourth International Conference on the Safe Schools Declaration, abduction of children from schools in Nigeria is increasing.

The UN Official urges the authorities in Nigeria to increase the protection of schools so they can remain learning safe havens, enabling boys and girls to fulfill their right to education. She further calls for the strengthening of prevention efforts to protect conflict-affected children and emphasizes that the capacity to monitor and report the abduction of children is instrumental in ending and preventing the violation. The Office of the SRSG for Children and Armed Conflict will be issuing a guidance note to further enhance the monitoring and reporting of abduction of children in situations of armed conflict in the coming months and provide elements to address this violation within action plans and other forms of protection and prevention commitments, as well as in the framework of peace processes and mediation efforts.

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For additional information, please contact:

Fabienne Vinet, Communications Officer, Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict
+1-646-537-5066 (mobile) / vinet@un.org
https://childrenandarmedconflict.un.org

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