We are writing to you in your capacity as the President of the Security Council to urge the Council to address an ongoing threat to international peace and security: the abduction of over 250 schoolgirls by armed militants in Nigeria.
On April 14, 2014, Boko Haram, a militant group, stormed an all-girl secondary school in the village of Chibok, in Borno and abducted over 250 girls. More abductions were reported on May 5, 2014, and on May 6, 2014, the group claimed responsibility for the abductions and has openly threatened to sell the girls. The Nigerian Government has not been able to locate nor rescue any of the captured girls.
The Council, through its resolutions on women, peace and security, the responsibility to protect, the protection of civilians in armed conflict, and children in armed conflict, has clearly stated that crimes targeting girls and women are of high priority to the Council and declared its intention to take action in such cases. However, after more than three weeks, the Council has not acted on this matter nor condemned these crimes. Most recently, the Council has reiterated its commitment to act in such cases in Resolution 2143 (2014) on children in armed conflict, which confirmed the “Security Council’s readiness to adopt targeted and graduated measures against perpetrators of violations and abuses against children” and strongly condemned “all violations of applicable international law involving the recruitment and use of children by parties of armed conflict, as well as their re-recruitment, killing and maiming, rape and other sexual violence, abductions, attacks against schools or hospitals.”
The commitments by the Council are laudable, but they need to translate to action. Accordingly, we call on the Security Council to take all appropriate measures to prevent further abductions, secure the safe release of the schoolgirls, and ensure accountability of the perpetrators for the crimes against humanity committed against these girls. This tragedy provides the Security Council with an opportunity to follow through on its commitments to end impunity for sexual and gender-based violence as mandated in numerous resolutions on women, peace, and security.
The Security Council must demonstrate zero tolerance for these heinous mass crimes.
To read the letter online and the list of signatories, click here.