We, the Group of Women Ambassadors in Geneva, would like to express our utmost
dismay at the abduction of over 200 young girls from their school in Northern Nigeria
and the subsequent announcement by Boko Haram that they are being sold as sex
slaves. Such an action runs against all the values that we stand for and we cannot
This also runs contrary to the provisions of numerous international treaties,
agreements and resolutions including those passed before this Human Rights
Council. Notably, Articles 3, 4 and 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
clearly state; and I quote:
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be
prohibited in all their forms.
No one shall be subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or
We fully agree with the comments of the UN spokesperson in Geneva, Mr. Rupert
Colville, when he said, and I quote: “We warn the perpetrators that there is an
absolute prohibition against slavery and sexual slavery in international law. These
can under certain circumstances constitute crimes against humanity.”
We therefore call on all Member States to stand united firmly in the universal
condemnation of this action. We urge the Nigerian Government, with the support of
the international community, to continue to do all it can to ensure the speedy release
of these girls and their safe return to their families, and to hold the perpetrators of
this heinous act – as well as their collaborators – accountable by bringing them to
9 May 2014
Permanent Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations Office and other international organisations in Geneva