‘Chibok schoolgirls’ strength inspiring’ – UN

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PHOTO:AFP

The UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, has described the strength of the rescued Chibok schoolgirls as “inspiring”.

Mohammed gave the remarks while briefing the UN Security Council on her visit to Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo from July 19 to 27.

The UN deputy chief said: “In Nigeria, we were moved by our meeting with the Chibok girls facilitated by the Honourable Minister of Women Affairs.

“Their remarkable strength as survivors rather than victims is inspiring. Many are receiving education and psychosocial support to prepare them for reintegration.

“But thousands of other young women who have been abducted and returned, subjected to sexual violence and affected by conflict in other ways are still to receive adequate support.

“We also interacted with displaced women and girls who are facing exploitation and abuse in the camps. We held meetings with women leaders who underscored the need to address mental health and women’s empowerment.”

She commended the governments of Niger, Chad, Cameroon and Nigeria for their efforts to promote stability through the Multinational Joint Task Force within the Lake Chad Basin Regional cooperation.

According to her, international support will continue to be crucial in addressing the root causes of the crisis in very complex situations.

“I am pleased to note that since our visit, the Acting President of Nigeria has established a Judicial Commission to investigate alleged violations of human rights by Nigerian security agencies, and to recommend ways to prevent such violations.

“I commend this initiative and encourage the relevant authorities to include sexual- and gender-based violence within the Commission’s work.

“The United Nations stands ready to support this important effort and also to reinforce protection measures for displaced women and girls,” Mohammed, Nigeria’s former Minister of Environment, said.

She said in Nigeria, the eight-year conflict in the Northeast has generated a risk of famine, displaced 1.9 million people and left 8.5 million people in need of assistance.

“These dire circumstances are being made worse by the large gap in humanitarian funding including meeting the commitments made at the Oslo Humanitarian Conference. There is an acute need for sustained and scaled up funding to avert famine in Nigeria.”

Mohammed stressed that “one message resounds most: investing in women and girls must be central to our efforts in Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and beyond if we are to have sustainable peace and development.

“Giving special consideration to the context will be key to responses that deliver the right results.

“We look forward to working with national governments, regional organizations, civil society, women and girls themselves, and international partners to deliver results that will advance peace, development and dignity for all.”

Mohammed said she was pleased to be joined by the Executive Director of UN Women and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict – both of whom were with her at the briefing, as well as the African Union Commission’s Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security.

“We were four African women, from two organizations, visiting two countries, with one goal: advancing peace by advancing the equality, empowerment and well-being of women,” Mohammed said.

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