“Stand strong to support them” – UN experts urge families and communities of the released 21 Chibok girls - African Business Magazine
“Stand strong to support them” – UN experts urge families and communities of the released 21 Chibok girls

“Stand strong to support them” – UN experts urge families and communities of the released 21 Chibok girls

A group of United Nations human rights experts today welcomed the release of 21 Chibok girls from Boko Haram captivity, and called on all Nigerians to fully support their immediate reintegration and rehabilitation. 

“While we commend the Nigerian authorities for the successful outcome of these negotiations, all institutions, together with the released girls’ communities and families must stand strong to support them in their recovery and reintegration and protect them from stigma, ostracisation and rejection,” said the UN Special Rapporteurs on sale of children, Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, on slavery, Urmila Bhoola, and on the right to health, Dainius  Pūras, who visited* Nigeria earlier this year. 

“The road to full recovery and rehabilitation may prove challenging and it is vital that their families and communities, as well as the Nigerian people stand in solidarity with the girls in the days, weeks and years to come,” they stressed.   

“The recently released girls may not be able to access to the services they need including, sexual and reproductive health services, information on remedies and livelihoods opportunities,” the experts warned, “so we urge all levels of Government: Federal, state and local, to take all the measures needed to provide these services not only to these girls but to all individuals who have been rescued from Boko Haram control. 

The human rights experts pointed out that providing this kind of support is not only a moral duty, but a legal obligation according to women and children’s rights provisions within international law. 

“We must not forget all other children and other victims, who continue to live in captivity under Boko Haram control, ” the experts said. Recalling that 197 girls are still missing of the 276 students abducted at gunpoint from their secondary school during a violent raid in the village of Chibok, in north-eastern Nigeria in April 2014, the experts remain deeply concerned about the plight of the girls still in captivity and their families.

In that regard, the UN Special Rapporteurs urged the Nigerian Government to swiftly take all necessary measures to locate them, ensure their safe return and recovery, and provide them with adequate assistance and protection. “Moreover,” they stressed, “Nigeria must hold the perpetrators accountable, while respecting international human rights norms and standards.” 
“We would like to reiterate, as stated at the end of our joint visit, that a comprehensive approach to addressing challenges in the North East provides a good opportunity not only to reintegrate women and children affected by Boko Haram but also to strengthen the health and educational sectors which are crucial for peace, security and sustainable development in Nigeria,” the experts stressed. 

“We remind the authorities of the recommendations issued in our report on the joint visit to Nigeria in January 2016 and stand ready to provide further advice and support,” the Special Rapporteurs concluded. 

Distributed by APO on behalf of Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

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    Distributed by APO on behalf of World Trade Organization (WTO).

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    Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations (UN).

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    Wits University continued to be characterised by incidents of criminality, intimidation and attacks on law-abiding citizens, including the police officials, who were constantly on the receiving end from protestors. These acts included setting vehicles on the campus alight and intimidating those wanting to study and write exams by persistent disruptive acts such as throwing fire crackers into classes. These actions prompted responses from the police on duty. Protesting students, innocent bystanders and police officials continue to sustain injuries which are regrettable. 

    A week ago, a march from Church Square in the Pretoria CBD, which had not been authorised, was allowed to continue as long as it was conducted in a peaceful manner. The SAPS ensured the policing of the march and monitored proceedings through the city to the Union Buildings. Unfortunately, after a memorandum was handed over at the Union Buildings, the protestors began pelting the police members present with rocks and stones. This unruly behaviour necessitated appropriate police action and the dispersal of protestors.

    After highlighting but a few incidents, the question again arises – has the legitimate #FeesMustFall initiative by students been taken over by the criminal element to a large extent?

    SAPS management must again emphasise that there is no room for police brutality. Police actions in responding to the challenges faced with, can never be defined or characterised by brutality on the part of the police. Any person who feels that their rights have been violated by any police action or member, is invited to make a complaint to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) for investigation. We must however, again thank and commend police officials on duty across the country who have continuously acted with restraint and within the confines of the law, heeding our call for maximum restraint and the use of minimum, proportional force.

    There are those who have bombarded us with calls to withdraw police officials from university campuses. We reiterate that it is the violence and criminal acts being committed on those campuses that have invited the presence of the SAPS. We respect the vice chancellors of the universities, and their executive councils and security management in the execution of their mandates and will support them to prevent the acts outlined, to ensure a climate conducive to studies and examinations. It is not the intention of the SAPS to securitise the institutions of higher learning or to take operational control over such institutions. The SAPS will not be apologetic in the execution of the mandate provided for in the Constitution of our country. It is a pity that some police officials have been targeted via e-mails, social media and other means, because they represent security and order. This form of intimidation will never succeed.

    The SAPS remains operationally ready to police all planned protest actions to ensure that they remain peaceful and that the democratic rights of others are not trampled upon in the process.

    We congratulate those students who have heeded calls to focus on their studies while their legitimate concerns are being dealt with by the relevant authorities. We wish them well with their studies and examinations.

    Moving off the topic of #FeesMustFall, we would like to congratulate the Western Cape police who, during an intelligence-led operation earlier today, discovered an arms cache at premises in Valhalla Park, Bishop Lavis. Although police investigators and experts are still busy on the scene, we can at this stage confirm that over 250 firearms, ammunition and an undisclosed amount of cash have already been seized and are being processed. Four individuals have been arrested. The scene is still being processed and an update will be given in due course. We are confident that this cache will assist us in clamping down on the scourge of gangsterism and in reducing the stubborn contact crime trends which affect our communities, such as murder and vehicle hijacking. The South African Police Service has resolved to intensify its operations over the festive season towards the realisation of the safe and secure people in South Africa. We urge all communities and sectors of our society to work together with the SAPS in ensuring that #CrimeMustFall becomes a reality.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Republic of South Africa: Department of Government Communication and Information.

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