The forgotten girls

It became a media sensation, almost fashionable, with people taking pictures of themselves with the #BringBackOurGirls placards. Celebrities and politicians jumped on the bandwagon. But the buzz, the hype and the hysteria worldwide ended as abruptly as it had started. The placards went down and most of the world settled back into their ordinary lives.

The world seems to have given up on the more than 200 teenage Nigerian girls kidnapped by the militant group, Boko Haram, four months ago. The activists have quietly slipped back into what’s comfortable. Powerhouse countries that have built rockets and claimed to have the most sophisticated intelligence systems have folded their arms – and the missing girls are still missing.

If the world leaders, with the means, the power and the might, can go to bed with a clean conscience knowing that that there are more than 200 defenceless girls who are being held captive against their will, then slavery is still very much part of our world.

The harrowing experiences of the hundreds of thousands of Africans shipped to the US in the 17th and 18th centuries are being relived in 2014 where the world stands by and watches slavery in action. Reports have emerged that the girls are being sold for marriage, another hallmark of the shameful period of slavery.

Hundreds of organisations have raised their voices against the abduction of these girls – and for most that is where it starts and ends.

On July 23, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth called for global vigils to mark the 100 days since the abduction. Marches and protests have been organised throughout the world in a bid to raise awareness.

Realising that the world needs to have a united solution to the ordeal of the missing girls, UN representatives have called for the world to take action together.

“The violation of the rights of women and girls on such a scale, no matter who they are and where they are, requires the whole world to stand up and take action. We are racing against time and every moment counts. We need the Government of Nigeria to act fast and we need the support of the world. Human rights are indivisible and universal.

Yet, women and girls continue to be systematically targeted, assaulted, trafficked and enslaved on a massive scale. Globally, one in three women will experience violence in her lifetime,” wrote Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and Babatunde Osotimehin, the Executive Director of UN Women and Executive Director of the UN Population Fund respectively.

Four months later, the safety and wellbeing of the missing girls remains a matter of speculation. While people continue to raise social media placards, where Boko Haram won’t take notice, more than 200 mothers and families will spend yet another night not knowing the conditions under which their children are living. More than 200 girls, will spend yet another night in bondage while the world sleeps.

Post published in: Africa News

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