Missing girls: Hashtag activism increases

JOINING THE CAUSE. A young pupil at a primary school in Durban writes a message reading 'Be a Man Boko Haram, Bring Back Our Girls!' during a 'BringBackOurGirls' school project in Durban. Picture: AFP.

The incarceration of women and children by terrorist groups to settle scores with governments continues to worry the Commission for Gender Equality.

While protesting silently outside the Nigerian Consulate in Illovo, Johannesburg yesterday, the commission said the lives of children should not be disrupted as a means to punish governments.

Commission chairperson Mfanozelwe Shozi said the “Bring Back Our Girls” campaign remained vital, as it could assist the Nigerian government and the international community identifying where the abducted children are being kept.

Terrorist group Boko Haram had claimed responsibility for the more than 200 kidnapped girls from a boarding school in Chibok, Nigeria last month.

Hashtag activism in the form of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign exploded across social media in the hopes of reuniting the kidnapped girls with their parents.

With the campaign increasingly spreading around the world, Shozi said people should come together to continue raising awareness of the gross violation of the human rights of the captured girls.

“The Commission for Gender Equality is a Constitutional body, which is why we urge other Constitutional bodies around the world to also raise awareness around this issue,” he said.

Unlike last week’s protest at the Nigerian Consulate, which saw hundreds of activists hand over a memorandum demanding immediate action by the Nigerian government to find the missing girls, no memorandum was delivered yesterday.

“We hope the Nigerian government has heard what the world has said about this and is going to roll up its sleeves to find these girls,” he said. Meanwhile, Women, Children and People with Disabilities Minister Lulu Xingwana called on the Nigerian government and the international community to double efforts to secure the safe release of the girls.

“The kidnapping violates the rights of women and the girls, who are in most cases the biggest victims,” said Xingwana.

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