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Over 10 million children are out of school in Nigeria and the global pandemic has only made it harder for young people to stay in school. There have been dire consequences for girls, who are at risk of being married off. In a recent report,…
A woman protests against child marriage in Lagos, Nigeria.
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Water mixed with salt was dinner for Umar Abubaker and his family of eight, including three young children, for many nights during Nigeria’s five-week lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Before the lockdown, Abubakar, who has a physical…
A man reading the newspaper "The Nation"
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When Akanni’s mother died in early 2018, she stopped eating for three weeks. Her mood became unpredictable; she was often shouting or sulking angrily. Medicine from a local pharmacist didn’t help. At a loss for what to do to handle the trauma, Akanni’s…
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For years, international media have been full of horrifying stories of Nigerian women and girls trafficked to Libya and Europe for sexual and labor exploitation. The world now also knows very well that many refugees and migrants seeking…
A Nigerian woman sits in a center in Benin City.
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A new treaty to deepen the link between environmental protection and human rights in Latin America and the Caribbean has the potential to reduce the conflicts that lead to the murders of so many environmental defenders in the region.  The…
Bernardo, a man in his 30s, was born in a quilombo (Afro-Brazilian) community of around 60, men, women, and children in Minas Gerais State, southeast Brazil. Bernardo told Human Rights Watch that he feels powerless against aerial spraying of pesticides. “
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Farmer-Herder Conflicts on the Rise in Africa Violent clashes between farmers and herders in Nigeria’s Middle Belt in June reminded me of a smelting hot afternoon a year ago.  I was sitting in my living room watching a herder grazing his…
Internally displaced villagers herd livestock in Turkana county, Kenya.
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"Go back and die in Nigeria.” The words still echo in the soft-spoken young man’s mind as he recalls the parting words of a Cameroonian soldier as he pushed a group of 40 Nigerians across the border. Then the young man, whom I will call “…
The congested Ngala camp for internally displaced persons in Borno State, northeast Nigeria, where a Boko Haram attack in early September killed at least seven people, April 2017.
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Lagos — As I waited at Nigeria's Murtala Mohammed Airport in Lagos, watching bags of various colors and shapes tumble onto the carousel, I cast a glance around the airport. It always feels good to be back in the city that was my home for over 20 years.…
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Snatched schoolgirls and suicide bomb blasts have long been the enduring images of Nigeria’s Boko Haram conflict. But now the violence is represented by thousands of new faces: those of starving children. Scenes like these haven’t been seen…
Women and children gather at the water point at an internally displaced people’s camp in Maiduguri
News

Governments Signal Continued Support for Court

The recent decisions by South Africa, Burundi, and Gambia to leave the International Criminal Court (ICC) are generating wide attention and speculation about a mass exodus from the court by African countries.  But think it’s clear where Africa stands on…
Stella Ndirangu of ICJ Kenya
News

Lack of education is a lack of light, it's darkness.

Two years have passed since Boko Haram abducted 276 schoolgirls in Chibok, Nigeria, and 219 of the girls remain missing. The anniversary, and that of the kidnapping of another 300 schoolchildren from another town, marks a grim roll call for education in…
A lecture theatre at the Federal College of Education, Kano, Kano state, destroyed when Boko Haram insurgents lobbed grenades and shot students taking classes on September 17, 2014. At least 27 students and two lecturers were killed in the attack.
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On the night of April 12, 2014, 14-year-old Miriam was jolted from sleep by the sound of a door being kicked in. She knew what it meant: Boko Haram had arrived. She dove under a pile of clothes in a corner of her room and watched as…
Chiroma Maina holds a picture of her abducted daughter Comfort Amos, next to her husband Jonah and her daughter Helen, at their home in Maiduguri, Nigeria on May 21, 2014.
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Just before dawn on the morning of Jan. 3, Boko Haram fighters opened fire on a Nigerian army base near Mile 4, a small Nigerian village a few kilometers west of the town of Baga. Situated in the northeastern most state of Borno, the base had been host to…
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Nigeria’s lively civil society is not known for consensus. So it is striking that every organization, interviewed by Human Rights Watch seems to agree on this: Outgoing president Goodluck Jonathan signed the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act into law in…
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(N’Djamena, Chad) – “Even after I escaped from them and live far away from my village, I am still afraid,” a 17-year-old girl who escaped from Boko Haram last year told us in June. “I think of death many times.” The shocking abduction of 276…
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The bold activists around the world who stand up to corporate and government economic interests frequently face a harsh backlash. Individuals and communities are threatened, and activists may be arrested or killed with impunity in retaliation for speaking…