Premium Journalist
2 minute read
19 Oct 2016
9:10 am

Released Nigerian girls kidnapped by Boko Haram need to readjust to society


Their release was welcomed by the UN, which encouraged the international community to support their rehabilitation.

United Nations human rights experts have welcomed the release of 21 Nigerian school girls, kidnapped by Boko Haram in Chibok, but said their immediate reintegration and rehabilitation was essential.

UN Special Rapporteurs on, respectively, the sale of children, Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, slavery, Urmila Bhoola, and the right to health, Dainius Puras, lauded the Nigerian authorities for the success of their negotiations.

At the same time they called upon institutions and communities to ensure the girls would experience a full recovery and be protected from “stigma, ostracisation and rejection”.

The sentiments of the Special Rapporteurs were contained in a joint news release from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on Tuesday.

They underscored that a full recovery could be challenging and that in order for the girls, to be adequately rehabilitated, they would need solidarity from the Nigerian people.

“The recently released girls may not be able to access the services they need, including sexual and reproductive health services, information on remedies and livelihoods opportunities,” the Special Rapporteurs warned.

“We urge all levels of government 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 experts added that such support was not only a moral obligation but a fulfillment of women and children’s legal rights under international law.

The girls were released last week after Boko Haram abducted them in the middle of the night in April of 2014 from their school dormitory in Chibok.

Their release was welcomed by the UN, which encouraged the international community to support their rehabilitation.

Meanwhile, 197 of the 276 girls who were abducted are still missing.

The UN Special Rapporteurs called upon the international and Nigerian communities to not forget that they continued to live in captivity and urged the Nigerian Government to take immediate measures to locate them and ensure their safe return.

“Nigeria must,” they said, “hold the perpetrators accountable, while respecting international human rights norms.”

They called for “a comprehensive approach to addressing challenges in the North East of Nigeria 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 Special Rapporteurs also referred to a report that was issued after a joint visit to Nigeria in January and maintained their ongoing assistance and willingness to provide further advice and support in order to ensure that all of the missing girls can return home.