Chibok two years on: Gordon Brown urges UN action to find missing girls and protect children

Children in conflicts, Education in emergencies, Gordon Brown, Safe schools

UN envoy Gordon Brown visits a school in Nigeria


Gordon Brown has called for urgent action to release the abducted Chibok schoolgirls still being held by Boko Haram.

The United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education also urged the UN Security Council to do more to protect children from attacks and kidnappings in their schools.

On the second anniversary of the mass abduction of 276 girls in Nigeria, Mr Brown said: “The Chibok girls are now a symbol of our apparent weakness to protect young lives.

“Their parents still wake up each morning not knowing whether their daughters are alive or dead, married or single or violated as slaves. They deserve better.”

Two years after their disappearance, 219 of the girls – most of whom are believed to be between the ages of 16 and 18 – are still missing.

Mr Brown called on the UN Security Council to take urgent action including: 

  • The re-focussing of international efforts on the immediate release of the girls abducted from Chibok 

  • The Security Council adopting a resolution so that the act of child abduction will in future trigger a party of conflict to be ‘listed’ by the UN Secretary-General, resulting in action by the international community. This would include urgent diplomatic action, mediation, sanctions and rehabilitation of boys and girls. 

  • All governments supporting a Declaration on Safe Schools, led by the Norwegian government, stating that attacks on schools, colleges and universities are crimes against humanity
  • Funding for schools in conflict situations and fragile states increased – currently only 1% of humanitarian aid is spent on education

Mr Brown added: “The kidnappings are emblematic of the horrors being inflicted on children globally in conflict zones which have risen to higher levels than at any point in 40 years.  

“In, addition, not since the ending of the World War II, have so many girls and boys become refugees. Never, outside the context of world wars, have schools in so many countries been subject to so many barbaric attacks.

”At the start of the millennium, the world, through the UN, made a promise to children. We pledged that no matter where they were from, they would all have an education and an opportunity in life.

“This commitment has been underlined in the new Sustainable Development Goals. It is time we lived up to our promise to the world’s children.” 

Read Gordon Brown’s blog on the Chibok anniversary

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