All those abducted by Boko Haram must be released and those whose lives have been devastated by the armed group must receive support and justice, said Amnesty International on the second anniversary of the armed group’s abduction of more than 270 Chibok schoolgirls.
Activists from the organization will join #BringBackOurGirls demonstrations in Abuja and campaigners around the world to mark the anniversary and remember all those abducted, killed and displaced by the armed group.
“Few of us can begin to comprehend the suffering of parents who have not seen their daughters for two years,” said Country Director of Amnesty International Nigeria, M.K. Ibrahim.
“In addition to the Chibok schoolgirls, today we also remember all those abducted, killed and displaced. Two years on, the Chibok girls have come to symbolize all the civilians whose lives have been devastated by Boko Haram.”
Whilst the fate of 219 of the 276 schoolgirls taken from Chibok secondary school remains unknown, so does that of thousands of other women, girls, young men and boys abducted by Boko Haram.
Amnesty International is calling on Boko Haram to stop targeting and killing civilians and for the Nigerian government to take all possible lawful steps to ensure their protection and restore security in the north-east. The international community should also continue to assist Nigeria’s government in addressing the threat posed by Boko Haram.
“Muhammadu Buhari’s Government should do all it lawfully can to bring an end to the agony of the parents of the Chibok girls and all those abducted. They should do more to bring back our girls, guarantee the protection of civilians in the north-east of the county and ensure access to education for children in the region,” said M.K. Ibrahim.
“Those guilty of inflicting this unspeakable suffering must be brought to justice, once and for all.”
Recent news reports have suggested that Boko Haram has offered to release the Chibok schoolgirls if a ransom is paid. Amnesty International does not take a position on negotiations to secure the release of hostages. The precise measures adopted in any particular case are a matter for the government to judge in compliance with their obligation to protect the rights of individuals within their jurisdiction.
Other reports have suggested that the government will set up rehabilitation centres for “repentant” Boko Haram members. While Amnesty International takes no position on the proposals, the process should not facilitate or allow amnesties for crimes under international law. To do so would deny Boko Haram's thousands of victims and their relatives their right to justice and reparations. Further, the rights of any former Boko Haram members taking part in rehabilitation processes must be fully respected.
All Boko Haram members reasonably suspected of having committed war crimes, crimes against humanity or other crimes under international law must be investigated and, where there is sufficient evidence, brought to justice through fair trials without recourse to the death penalty.
To see Amnesty International’s most recent report on Boko Haram, ‘Our job is to shoot, slaughter and kill’: Boko Haram’s reign of Terror in North East Nigeria visit https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/afr44/1360/2015/en/