13 May 2014 - Christian Aid Ireland is supporting its team in Nigeria in its call for the release of the schoolgirls still being held by Boko Haram.
‘We are appalled at what has happened to these girls’, says Rosamond Bennett, CEO of Christian Aid Ireland, ‘and the fear that this must have created amongst other children and their parents in Nigeria as they consider the safety of their local schools.
‘We have been working for years to make sure that all children get the chance to go to school. Our team in Nigeria has been working to improve the lives of the most vulnerable people, which most often are women and girls. Now we need to support them as they call on their leaders to take a greater responsibility for the safety of their citizens.’
Christian Aid’s country manager in Nigeria, Charles Usie, says, ‘We will continue to raise our voices for the safe return of the Chibok girls and ultimately for the vulnerable in our society to ensure that our leaders take responsibility for our security, so that we can live and make our choices without fear.’
Mr Usie, speaking from Nigeria’s capital Abuja, continued, ‘No girl deserves to miss out on school because of fear for their lives or safety; every child regardless of status or religion has the right to education.’
‘Everyone regardless of gender or religion should be able to make their own choices and decisions without fear. Education is a human right which no one should be denied.’
Mrs Bennett, speaking today at the Christian Aid International Peace Building conference in Belfast, added, ‘The only thing that young students should be concerned about at this time of year is whether or not they have prepared sufficiently for their exams.’
Human rights activists from Latin America, Africa and the Middle East at the conference have been sharing their experiences of conflict and how to build peace in their parts of the world with speakers from Northern Ireland.
In his opening remarks to the conference, Minister of Justice, David Ford remarked on the irony of talking about peace-making in countries other than Northern Ireland and compared the ‘problems in places like Nigeria with child abduction going on’, when in fact ‘we have witnessed on the streets (in Northern Ireland) very recently how unsolved our problems are.’
If you would like further information please contact:
• Adrian Horsman, Head of Communications & Media Officer, Christian Aid Ireland. Tel: (44) 7710 764 093 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Florence Mutesasira, Communications & Media Officer. Tel: (353) 086 160 9405 / 01 775 8085 or email email@example.com.
Notes to editors:
1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 50 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.
2. Christian Aid’s core belief is that the world can and must be changed so that poverty is ended: this is what we stand for. Everything we do is about ending poverty and injustice: swiftly, effectively, sustainably. Our strategy document ‘From Inspiration to Impact’ outlines how we set about this task.
3. For more information about the work of Christian Aid, visit www.christianaid.ie.