UN envoy calls for vigil for abducted Nigerian schoolgirls, pledges “never to abandon them”

Photo: UNESCO

11 July 2014 – United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown today called for the world to show support for the kidnapped schoolgirls of Chibok, Nigeria, on 22 July, which will be the 100th day of their captivity.

"We, of course, hope that the Chibok girls will be released before July 22,” Mr. Brown, who will start his new term as special envoy this month, according to a press rlease from his office.

"However, by marking the 100th day of the abduction of the girls kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists, and by pledging never to abandon them, we are reminding people that we are in the middle of a global civil rights struggle,” he said.

Boko Haram militants abducted more than 200 girls from their school in Chibok in Borno state of Nigeria on 14 April and despite efforts by the Nigerian Government and international outcry, the schoolgirls remain missing.

“Girls' rights should be taken seriously and they should have the right to be at school free of intimidation and violence. We will mark the 100 days by pledging to rebuild their Chibok school and by calling for international support for safe school across Nigeria,” Mr. Brown stated.

The vigils will be staged at the same time in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe and the United States under the banner #BringBackOurGirls. Mr. Brown is calling on civil society and youth organizations to come together in solidarity with the school girls and to send letters of support. The online petition (http://www.aworldatschool.org/page/s/100daysBBOG) calling for the safe return of the girls and all messages of solidarity will be passed to Chibok community leaders and families of the girls.

Mr. Brown will also send the petition to Nigerian President Goodluck Johnathan and UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon. The Chibok girls' families are expected to sign the petition and offer their full support for the Safe Schools Initative - a fund set up to pilot 500 safe schools in northern Nigeria. The programme brings the Nigerian Government and Nigerian business leaders together with the international community to ensure that all children are secure when learning.


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