Attributable to Pernille Ironside, Acting Representative of UNICEF Nigeria
ABUJA/SYDNEY, 7 May 2017 – “UNICEF welcomes Saturday’s release of over 80 of the girls abducted by Boko Haram insurgents at their school in Chibok over three years ago.
“It is heartening to know that the girls will be returning to their families who have been waiting for this day. They will face a long and difficult process to rebuild their lives after the indescribable horror and trauma they have suffered at the hands of Boko Haram.
“UNICEF is on standby to support the Nigerian authorities to provide the comprehensive psychosocial support and other specialized services needed. We will help reunite the girls with their families and make sure they can continue their education in a safe environment. Already staff at a UNICEF supported health clinic have been supporting immediate efforts to identify the girls and conduct medical check-ups before their onward transport.
“UNICEF calls on Boko Haram to end all grave violations against children, especially the abduction of children and the sexual abuse and forced marriage of girls.
“We commend the government for this important achievement in helping to protect children impacted by the conflict in northeast Nigeria but remain deeply concerned for the thousands of women and children still held in captivity by Boko Haram. Greater efforts must be made to bring them all to safety and home to their families.
“UNICEF has a comprehensive response to help children who have been affected by the conflict in the Lake Chad Basin and works with national authorities to support hundreds of children and women who have escaped or been released from Boko Haram. Every child is unique and requires different levels of support, so there is no standard formula or defined timeframe for these children to recover. UNICEF is committed to doing whatever it takes, as long as it takes to help these children recover a sense of normalcy with our available resources.”
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children visit www.unicef.org.au
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For more information contact:
Harriet Dwyer, UNICEF Nigeria, +234 906 222 2215, [email protected]
Patrick Rose, UNICEF West and Central Africa Regional Office, [email protected]
Laura Gibbons, UNICEF Australia, 04 35206273, [email protected]