Sunday, 17 April 2016

Treatment of Boko Haram survivors

It seemed outrageous when Boko Haram abducted young girls to provide sex for the men who fight for them. They have abducted thousands but the ones we all remember are the 276 teenagers abducted in 2014.  At the time the Nigerian Government did not seem to put a lot of effort into rescuing the young women even knowing that they would have been being raped on a regular basis.

Now some of these young women and others have escaped, or been rescued, following a series of Nigerian Government military operations.  These young women have returned home with babies fathered by their rapists.  They now face discrimination and suspicion.  Many of them live in displacement camps run by the Nigerian Government. For many there is no other place to go as their villages were destroyed and their families killed by Boko Haram.

The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in 2015 rape in Nigeria was not just an outcome of the general chaos of war but was a calculated "tactic of terror."

These women and their children deserve better treatment than a Government run displacement camp.  Prisoners of war have regulations about their treatment. These young women have been prisoners of war who have returned to their country.  The Government needs to set up proper programs to resettle them and assist them to look after their children.

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