As the world marks two years on from the mass abduction and disappearance of 276 schoolgirls in Chibok, Nigeria, UN Special Envoy for Global Education, Gordon Brown is demanding immediate action to release all of the girls still being held by Boko Haram.
The location of the schoolgirls, most of whom are believed to be between the ages of 16 and 18, still remains unknown.
Mr Brown said: “The Chibok girls are now a symbol of our apparent weakness to protect young lives. Their parents still wake up each morning not knowing whether their daughters are alive or dead, married or single or violated as slaves. They deserve better.”
The UN Special Envoy today calls upon the UN Security Council take urgent action to protect children from attacks and abductions in their schools.
These actions should include:
*The re-focussing of international efforts on the immediate release of the girls abducted from Chibok
*The Security Council adopting a resolution so that the act of child abduction will in future trigger a party of conflict to be ‘listed’ by the United Nations Secretary General resulting in action by the international community. This would include urgent diplomatic action, mediation, sanctions and rehabilitation of boys and girls.
*All Governments supporting a Declaration on Safe Schools, led by the Norwegian Government, stating that attacks on schools, colleges and universities are crimes against humanity.
*Funding for schools in conflict situations and fragile states increased. Currently only one per cent of humanitarian aid is spent on education.
Mr Brown added: “The kidnappings are emblematic of the horrors being inflicted on children globally in conflict zones which have risen to higher levels than at any point in 40 years. In, addition, not since the ending of the World War II, have so many girls and boys become refugees. Never, outside the context of world wars, have schools in so many countries been subject to so many barbaric attacks.
“At the start of the millennium, the world, through the UN, made a promise to children. We pledged that no matter where they were from, they would all have an education and an opportunity in life. This commitment has been underlined in the new Sustainable Development Goals. It is time we lived up to our promise to the world’s children.”