People cross Lake Chad in canoes in Ngouboua, Chad, January 19, 2015. More than one million people may have been forced to leave their homes in northern Nigeria by the five-year-old insurgency of Islamist sect Boko Haram, according to the United Nations.
The kidnapping of nearly 300 schoolgirls from Chibok, Nigeria by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram last ApriAnchorl shocked the world. A social media campaign – #BringBackOurGirls – became the international rallying cry for their release. Sadly, these aren’t the first, or the last, girls to be kidnapped by Boko Haram – it has become a standard part of the group’s violent insurgency in northeastern Nigeria. The Human Rights Watch Nigeria researcher Mausi Segun spent months tracking down the few girls who escaped from Boko Haram and were courageous enough to share their experiences.
(London) – Women and girls abducted by the Islamist group Boko Haram are forced to marry, convert, and endure physical and psychological abuse, forced labor, and rape in captivity. The group has abducted more than 500 women and girls since 2009, and intensified abductions since May 2013, when Nigeria imposed a state of emergency in areas where Boko Haram is most active.
We write today as organizations greatly concerned about the crisis in northeastern Nigeria and the heavy toll it has taken on the civilian population. Intensified attacks by the armed group Boko Haram leave civilians, including children, facing war crimes and other mass atrocities.
Governments should make an urgent commitment to protect people from the harmful effects of mercury by signing and ratifying the new Minamata Convention on Mercury. The Minamata Convention, adopted in October 2013, obliges governments to reduce mercury use and emissions globally and is an important tool to protect the right to health.
Three notorious African leaders -- Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe, Eritrea's Isaias Afewerki, and Sudan's Omar al-Bashir -- are not invited to this week's U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C. But a number of other long-ruling African strongmen, like Angola's José Eduardo dos Santos, Equatorial Guinea's Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, and Uganda's Yoweri Museveni, will be there. In fact, over a dozen African countries which will be represented at the summit boast disturbing human rights records of ruthlessly suppressing freedom of expression and freedom of association through harassment, arrest, torture, and trumped up charges and killings.
While President Obama has unveiled specific initiatives to strengthen US development work in Africa and connect it to core national security objectives, he has not done the same for human rights and the rule of law.