iaIGO is Extremely Concerned About Children fleeing Violence in Northern Nigeria
The International Gulf Organization (iaIGO) for Human Rights is deeply concerned about the welfare, education and future of the growing number of children fleeing the arm conflict in Northeastern Nigeria.
A latest report by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) revealed that more and more children are forced to flee their homes and schools due to violent clashes between Nigerian government forces and Boko Haram. An estimated 800,000 children are already reported to have crossed and seek refuge in neighboring Niger, Chad and Cameroon and the number is said to increase as the conflict is still ongoing.
This statistic raises grave concern over the welfare and future of these refugee children as armed conflicts generally impacts negatively on the lives of children. Many children are forced to abandon school and flee due to the violence; others have been abducted by armed groups while hundreds have been forcefully conscripted as child soldiers.
According to UNICEF’s report young women and girls are being subjected to forced marriage, forced labor and rape, while students and teachers are being deliberately targeted by armed groups in the region. more than 300 schools were damaged or destroyed and at least 196 teachers and 314 schoolchildren killed by the end of 2014.
Children and families who are internally or externally displaced are exposed and vulnerable to communicable diseases such as diarrhea, cholera, respiratory infections, measles and other infectious diseases. These children are equally deprived of basic education which serves to shape and structure their future lives.
Depriving children of proper welfare and education is strictly against their rights as stated under international human rights laws. The UN Convention on the Right of the Child mandates state parties need to responsibility to take all available measures to make sure children’s rights are respected, protected and fulfilled. This involves assessing their social services, health and educational systems. It further obliges member states to take necessary measures to ensure the minimum protection of children, and school infrastructures.
Therefore, iaIGO urges on the Nigerian government to step up measures to ensure the protection of children in the conflict northern region of the country. iaIGO calls on the international humanitarian community to support UNICEF and contribute in providing humanitarian aid to these displaced children so that they may get a better and bright future. iaIGO further calls on the UN Security Council, the African Union and other regional organization to assist the Nigerian government to put an end to Boko Haram insurgency.