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Kidnapping of Schoolgirls in Nigeria

Attacks on education occur throughout the world in various forms, particularly in areas of war, conflict, and instability. Children often do not go to school out of fear for their safety, or they are physically prevented from attending.

In many regions, girls are viewed as unequal. On a daily basis, they are targets for unjust treatment and denied the right to education out of fear promulgated by cultural, political, and religious factors. This ongoing issue is often not at the forefront of general consciousness until a particularly disturbing event captures our attention and calls upon our humanity to take action.

On 14 April 2014, approximately 234 schoolgirls ages 16 to 18 were abducted in the middle of the night from their boarding school located in a northeast province of Nigeria. It is thought that a militant group fundamentally against the education of girls is responsible for the attack.

Global outrage has been expressed over the kidnappings, which have continued since the mass attack three weeks ago. The government of Nigeria has appealed for international help to find and ensure the release of the schoolgirls. In particular, President Goodluck Jonathan approached China, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States for help.

As of this release, the international community has responded in condemnation, and both the U.K. and the U.S. have committed military and technical teams to Nigeria. The United Nations have warned the perpetrators that their actions may constitute a crime against humanity under international law. A U.S. bipartisan resolution condemning the abduction and urging assistance in efforts to rescue the students quickly passed through the U.S. Senate. A U.K. government emergency committee is in formal talks with the Nigerian government in Abuja to discuss options.

ACEI asks you to contact your country's government officials today to condemn the abduction and exploitation of girls in Nigeria done in the name of fundamental beliefs that would prevent their access to education. Also urge your government to support efforts to ensure the girls' safety and protection, return them to their families, and reintegrate them into their communities. Finally, ask your government to highly encourage Nigeria to strengthen systems that ensure the protection and education of all children.

TAKE ACTION

• Call, email, write a letter, or meet with your government official urging him/her to condemn the abduction of the schoolgirls in Nigeria, support efforts to ensure their safe return, and ensure the protection and education of all children. Example text has been provided below.
• Examples of who to contact include your Member of Parliament, Senator, United Nations Ambassador, and officials from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Education, and Social Welfare.
• Urge your friends and family to take action. Use social media to spread the word (example campaign: #BringBackOurGirls).
• Be sure to follow up with your government official in your nation who may be able to urge action on this issue.

EXAMPLE TEXT FOR YOUR GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL

Regarding: Abducted Schoolgirls in Nigeria

As a constituent and national citizen, I have been deeply affected by the events in Nigeria that have denied many schoolchildren the right to education. Most recently, I am disturbed by the abduction of the 234 schoolgirls from their boarding school in the northeast part of the country. This heinous act not only denies their right to education but also places them in great danger, subject to further violence and trafficking. I urge you to condemn this attack on basic human rights and to support efforts to ensure the girls' safety and protection, return them to their families, and reintegrate them into their communities. We also must encourage the Nigerian government to strengthen efforts to ensure all children are able to obtain an education and hold perpetrators of attacks on education accountable for their actions.