#BringBackOurGirls Statement: International Day of the Girl Child
October 11, 2016
It is with deep sense of sadness that we join the world to mark a third consecutive International Day of the Girl Child without our 218 girls who were abducted by Boko Haram from a secondary school in Chibok, Nigeria on April 14, 2014.
Since their abduction, this special day observed by members of the United Nations has had an even greater significance for the Chibok community, concerned Nigerian and global citizens, and the #BringBackOurGirls movement, because the themes are poignant reminders of how much the continued captivity of our Chibok girls – who the movement has always referred to as being symbolic of girls everywhere – highlights the long road to removing the barriers that continue to face girls around the world.
This year’s theme for the UN’s fifth International Day of the Girl Child is Girls’ Progress = Goals’ Progress: What Counts for Girls. The theme not only focuses on the impact of girls’ progress on their own development but also their families’, communities’, and nations’.
Our 218 ChibokGirls went to school to take advantage of the opportunity for a better life for themselves, their parents, family, community and the world. Regrettably, by not being rescued 911 days later, they, like many other young women in our country and elsewhere, are prevented from contributing to the achievement of our global development goals. What a big loss to the world, if nothing remarkable is done to remove all barriers that prevent such waste of talent.
The #BringBackOurGirls movement shares the frustration of the United Nations, conscientious leaders and committed groups, as well as individuals who work daily to address the ways in which “existing gaps in data on girls and young women, lack of systematic analysis, and limited use of existing data significantly limit our ability to monitor and communicate the wellbeing and progress of half of humanity”.
Our movement recognizes that, in Nigeria, the paucity of data is not limited to girls, but also boys, and is indeed a nation-wide problem, particularly when it comes to vulnerable people and humanitarian issues. Behind every data though is a human soul. Girls that we capture in numbers and are unable to have the opportunities of life, to be the best that they could become, delay our achievement of global goals. This is why we formed a partnership with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), in June 2015, to establish a Missing Persons’ database. We believe that every Nigerian life matters and that any one lost, killed, or injured, must be accounted for.
It is for this reason that our Movement is staying committed to demanding for the rescue of our #ChibokGirls, even 30 months after their abduction. The world cannot afford to move on without our girls. The world cannot afford to deny our girls, whose search for improvement of life opportunity turned them into captives of terrorists. They, and every other young woman who is physically, mentally, socially, economically or even politically shut away from freedom to aspire, must become an inspiration to make all numbers of the global girls become our global goals.
We therefore support efforts by the international and local agencies working to mitigate the effects of such violence, as well as the most pernicious effects of the insurgency on children.
While this International Day of the Girl Child is yet another sobering milestone, we remain hopeful and optimistic that the powerful combination of local action and global commitments will provide the platform needed by girls everywhere.
When girls do better, we all do better. The Government of Nigeria, supported by the rest of the world can do better at rescuing our #ChibokGirls. Once rescued, rehabilitated and supported to continue with their education, as should girls all over the world, they will do better for themselves and for humanity.
Signed: For and on behalf of #BringBackOurGirls