Scottish Daily Mail


- By Gordon Brown United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education PICTURES: Courtesy of This Day/ Arise News, Sky Channel 519

These are the names and faces of some of the more than 200 Nigerian girls who were abducted from their school dormitorie­s eight weeks ago.

each girl has a story, a future they had planned, a family anxiously waiting for them at home.

I was shown these pictures after visiting Nigeria this week. I met the leader of the community council in Chibok, the town from which the girls were abducted.

slowly and with tears in his eyes, he flicked through a file in which he had recorded the names and photograph­s of the girls.

Not even the police and Army have managed to compile such detail he has amassed f r om talking to the parents of the kidnapped teenagers.

The file has 185 pages — one for every girl. each page has a photograph, and beside each passport-sized picture some stark facts — the girl’s name, her school grade and the date of abduction. For the other 19 abducted girls, he has yet to locate photograph­s. he will.

The community leader and the girls’ families have given permission for their names and photograph­s to be put into the public domain so the world is reminded of the missing girls. he is being helped to publicise this by Arise TV chief Nduka Obaigbena.

There is also a file on the 53 girls who escaped by running for their lives from their Boko haram kidnappers.

I have spoken to three who fled. All want to be doctors and work as medical helpers in their communitie­s. But for now, their lives are on hold. They are unable to finish their exams, unable to find a safe place to study near home and are still in fear of another attack from Boko haram. They have lost a year of their schooling and they are traumatise­d by the kidnapping of their friends.

FOr a teenage girl, eight weeks in captivity could have life-time consequenc­es — and for their families it is torture. The idea that your daughter should go to school one day and never return is every parent’s nightmare. Not to know whether they have been molested, trafficked or are even alive is a living hell.

These girls were abducted for the sole reason that their captors believe that girls have no right to an education.

Yet this civil rights struggle is being fought out, brutally and — for most of the time — shamefully unobserved.

On one side, terrorists, murderers, rapists and cowards, hell-bent on acts of depravity. On the other, defiant, relentless, brave-beyond- comprehens­ion young girl-heroes and boy-heroes desperatel­y fighting for a future but, sadly, in a world largely oblivious to their plight.

In Britain and in the United states, we do find out. We do learn about abuse and horror from across the globe and we do react. But it’s often too late, and then, inevitably, it’s always too little. We should not fail young people, but it seems like we always do.

But we can’t forget. We owe them. We can’t give up because they won’t have given up.

During the past eight weeks, the world’s attention has been drawn to India, where a gang raped and then hanged two girls seen as property to be passed around 28 Indian youths.

There has also been public outrage at the death sentence over a young sudanese mother simply because a woman is considered to have no right to her own religion.

And this week, in Iraq, extreme Islamists are fighting for demands that include changing the constituti­on to legalise marriage for girls as young as eight.

The killings, the rapes, the mutilation­s, the traffickin­g and the abductions shock western eyes because the assaults seem so out of the ordinary. however, they are not isolated incidents, but part of a pattern where the violation of girls is commonplac­e. A pattern where girls’ rights are still only what rulers decree and where girls’ opportunit i es are no more t han what patriarchs decide.

Consider this. This week, and every week, at least 200,000 school-age girls in Africa and Asia — many just ten, 11, 12 or 13 years old — will be married off against their will because they have no rights that can stop this occurring.

Thousands more will be subjected to genital mutilation because they have no power to stop a practice designed to make them acceptable as child-brides and for adolescent childbirth.

And girls as young as eight, nine and ten will be in full-time work, down mines, in factories, working the fields and in domestic service.

Many will be trafficked into prostituti­on as part of a subterrane­an world of slave labour.

They are children who have a right to be at school. Today, almost 70 years after t he Universal Declaratio­n of Human Rights, we are in the midst of a liberation struggle that has yet to establish every girl’s right to life, education and dignity.

It is girls themselves who are doing more than the adults to demand their rights. A few weeks ago I spoke to 2,000 girls in Pakistan, where, in 2012, schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen after speaking up for the right of girls to be educated.

I had found girls who were angry but cowed into submission.

I found that they are a vociferous campaignin­g group, determined not to allow Pakistan to fail to educate girls. But they need the world to see their freedom fight.

There is an old saying that I don’t agree with but goes along the lines of ‘children should be seen and not heard’. It should be rewritten.

The girls and boys I have encountere­d in Nigeria, Pakistan and a hundred other countries need to be heard. They need to be heard loudly. They need to be heard often. Only then will the world listen.

 ??  ?? Esther Ayuba
Esther Ayuba
 ??  ?? Maryam Abubakar
Maryam Abubakar
 ??  ?? Hauwa M. Maina
Hauwa M. Maina
 ??  ?? Fibi Haruna
Fibi Haruna
 ??  ?? Awa Yerima
Awa Yerima
 ??  ?? Rifkatu Galang
Rifkatu Galang
 ??  ?? Maimuna Usman
Maimuna Usman
 ??  ?? Comfort Habila
Comfort Habila
 ??  ?? Rhoda Peter
Rhoda Peter
 ??  ?? Hauwa Baltai
Hauwa Baltai
 ??  ?? Mairama Yahaya
Mairama Yahaya
 ??  ?? Maryamu Lawan
Maryamu Lawan
 ??  ?? Rahila Yohanna
Rahila Yohanna
 ??  ?? Moda Baba
Moda Baba
 ??  ?? Glory Mainta
Glory Mainta
 ??  ?? Hauwa Abdu
Hauwa Abdu
 ??  ?? Tabitha Thomas
Tabitha Thomas
 ??  ?? Rose Daniel
Rose Daniel
 ??  ?? Patient Jacob
Patient Jacob
 ??  ?? Dorcas Yakubu
Dorcas Yakubu
 ??  ?? Baraya Musa
Baraya Musa
 ??  ?? Esther Usman
Esther Usman
 ??  ?? Naomi Adamu
Naomi Adamu
 ??  ?? Yagana Joshua
Yagana Joshua
 ??  ?? Magret Watsai
Magret Watsai
 ??  ??
 ??  ?? Lugwa Mutah
Lugwa Mutah
 ??  ?? Hannatu Ishaku
Hannatu Ishaku
 ??  ?? Naomi Luka
Naomi Luka
 ??  ?? Hanatu Nuhu
Hanatu Nuhu
 ??  ?? Maryamu Wayi
Maryamu Wayi
 ??  ?? Lydia Emmar
Lydia Emmar
 ??  ?? Nguba Bura
Nguba Bura
 ??  ?? Hanatu Stephen
Hanatu Stephen
 ??  ?? Rejoice Sanki
Rejoice Sanki
 ??  ?? Noami Bitrus
Noami Bitrus
 ??  ?? Lugina Samuel
Lugina Samuel
 ??  ?? Bolomi Titus
Bolomi Titus
 ??  ?? Glory Dama
Glory Dama
 ??  ?? Lydia Simon
Lydia Simon
 ??  ?? Kauna Lalai
Kauna Lalai
 ??  ?? Magret Shrttima
Magret Shrttima
 ??  ?? Saraya Amos
Saraya Amos
 ??  ?? Grace Paul
Grace Paul
 ??  ?? Falmata Lawan
Falmata Lawan
 ??  ?? Maryamu Yakubu
Maryamu Yakubu
 ??  ?? Hajara Isa
Hajara Isa
 ??  ?? Fatima Tabji
Fatima Tabji
 ??  ?? Amina Ali
Amina Ali
 ??  ?? Rhoda John
Rhoda John
 ??  ?? Rebecca Joseph
Rebecca Joseph
 ??  ?? Esther John
Esther John
 ??  ?? Glory Yaga
Glory Yaga
 ??  ?? Hadiza Yakubu
Hadiza Yakubu
 ??  ?? Awa Abuga
Awa Abuga
 ??  ?? Naomi Zakariya
Naomi Zakariya
 ??  ?? Lugwa Abuga
Lugwa Abuga
 ??  ?? Comfort Amos
Comfort Amos
 ??  ?? Filo Dauda
Filo Dauda
 ??  ?? Ruth Lawan
Ruth Lawan
 ??  ?? Glory Aji
Glory Aji

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom