A Women’s Conference meeting in Midrand, South Africa has appealed to African Union (AU) member states to provide financial and logistical support to the government of Nigeria to support its efforts to free the girls held by Boko Haram rebel group in Northern Nigeria.
The Conference, held at the Pan African Parliament headquarters from October 16-17 also condemned violence against women in particular and appealed to all organs of the AU, the United Nations Security Council and the wider international community to “impress upon Moroccan authorities to unconditionally release all Saharawi political prisoners.”
The Conference was held to mark 10 years of existence of the Pan African Parliament (PAP).
Uganda’s representative to the Conference, Rosemary Nyakikongoro (Ind., Sheema district) said there was need for African leaders to rescue the kidnapped Nigerian girls.
“We should not look at this as an isolated case for Nigeria. These are not Nigerian girls but African girls who are the future women and women leaders,” Hon. Nyakikongoro said.
“They need to be rescued, reunited with their families, rehabilitated and continue with their education,” she stressed.
Nyakikongoro also asked leaders to be mindful of the high number of women and girls who are not secure and peaceful as they are trafficked from the continent.
As the two day conference was going on, the international media reported a deal between the Nigeria government and Boko Haram rebels that could lead to the release of some or all of the abducted girls.
“Trafficking in persons in Africa has inflicted all forms of abuse against girls and women who have fallen victim to it. We can no longer tolerate this type of insecurity in Africa…governments across Africa need to be united to rescue those that have been trafficked,” she said, adding, “the world needs to treat human beings humanely and girls and women should be treated as human beings.”
The delegates in the Conference resolved that “Recognizing the unique needs of women in armed conflict and other situations of violence, parliaments are called upon to increase engagement with regional and parliamentary bodies to find concrete measures to promote the special protection of women in armed conflicts and other situations of violence.”
In addition, the delegates, who included PAP legislators, MPs in national parliaments and civil society, asked member states to provide services under the existing abortion laws in order to reduce the high rates of maternal mortality and morbidity from unsafe abortion.