The Congress of South African Trade Unions is deeply saddened and concerned about the abduction of more than 276 school girls, including those from Warabe Village, by a Nigerian terrorist grouping, Boko Haram, on 14th April 2014.
The girls, ranging in age from 15-19 years, were targeted for participation in the state-run non qu’ranic education project. Boko Haram’s stance against ldquoWestern Educationrdquo cannot be allowed to be used for the entrenchment of patriarchy and the disrespect of girls and their access to education, as well as safety and security
COSATU, representing 2.2million members, wants to come out unequivocally condemning Boko Haram’s horrendous act of using girl children. We gly condemn these acts of terror and demand for the unconditional release of the girls. We further denounce the patriarchal nature of this act whereby children, more especially girls, are used as battlefields to further political agendas.
By abducting the girls at a state-run school in Chibok, Borno State, Boko Haram’s agenda is undoubtedly to perpetuate gender disparities in education, which is a gross violation of Human Rights and a contravention of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child which prohibits trafficking and commodification of children.
COSATU would like to render our utmost support and solidarity to the people of Nigeria, in particular those families who are directly affected by this act of terror. We call on the African Union (AU) to assist the Nigerian government in any way in its quest to recover the girls and restore peace to Nigerian’s North East.
In addition COSATU calls upon AU to play a more meaningful role in the promotion of peace across the continent, as women and children are the first to pay the price for warmongering.
We further urge our members in all sectors, all workers organised and unorganised, governments departments, gender and human rights activists to join hands and to continue waging the fight by putting pressure on the Federal Government of Nigeria, (AU), Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS) and whoever has a role to play in peace-keeping and conflict resolution to swiftly act to Bring Our Girls Home Safely.
COSATU has invited all its affiliates, other trade union federations, and civil society and student organisations to a meeting on 22 May to discuss protest action. The organisations include students from UNISA who are already planning a march to the Nigerian High Commission in Pretoria on 31 March 2014.
COSATU’s wish is to ensure justice and that drastic measures are taken for the safe return of our girls.
Source : Congress of South African Trade Unions