Nigeria's Boko Haram victims “need more help”

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The UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, where human rights experts discussed the impact of the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria’s north-east. Photo: UN Photo/Jess Hoffman

The task of helping schoolgirls formerly held captive by Boko Haram extremists to recover from their ordeal is being obstructed by stigma and discrimination, the UN Human Rights Council has heard.

Addressing Member States on the issue were three UN Special Rapporteurs, who recently returned from north-east Nigeria, where 276 students were kidnapped from a school in the town of Chibok in 2014.

More than 200 are still believed missing.

Daniel Johnson has more.

Nigeria has spared no effort in trying to help those who have either escaped or been liberated from Boko Haram captivity, Dainius Puras told the Human Rights Council.

Nonetheless, more than two years after the outrage, much more needs to be done by the authorities to tackle discrimination faced by the victims, and rebuild public services, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health said.

"The extent of the challenges and the number of people in need remain overwhelming and well beyond the reach of current responses."

Echoing that message was Maud de Boer-Buquicchio, Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.

She stressed that the young victims had been sexually abused by Boko Haram and now faced suspicion from their families that they had sided with the extremists.

Urmila Bhoola, Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, condemned what she called the systematic and widespread enslavement of girls by the militants.

And she said that it was imperative that the victims are accepted by their communities and given access to justice, especially for those who had been forced into marriage and needed the unions annulled.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva

Duration: 1'12"

 

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