UNFPA, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has offered to provide reproductive health and psychological support to the Dapchi school girls, freed by Boko Haram on Wednesday.
The United Nations agency has also congratulated the Government of Nigeria on the return of the girls, describing it as a welcomed development.
UNFPA Country Representative Diane Keita disclosed in a statement sent to Frontline News Online yesterday, that her agency is on standby to provide emergency reproductive healthcare and psychosocial counseling and support to the returnees.
“UNFPA is currently on ground in Yobe state providing psychosocial counseling to the parents and families of the girls and on standby to support the Nigerian government to provide the comprehensive psychosocial support and other specialized services needed for the release girls. Already staffs at a UNFPA supported health clinics are on standby to provide medical check-ups for the girls.
“We commend the government for this important achievement in helping to protect women and girls impacted by the conflict in northeast Nigeria but remain deeply concerned for the thousands of women and children still held in captivity by Boko Haram. Greater efforts must be made to bring them all to safety and home to their families,” Keita said.
The agency however condemned all forms of violation, even as it called on Boko Haram to end all grave violations against women and girls, especially the abduction and the sexual abuse and forced marriage of girls.
UNFPA also called on the government to ensure schools remain in places of safety and security, where young girls and boys can learn and grow in peace.
“Girls and young women must be allowed to go to school without fear of violence and unjust treatment so that they can play their rightful role as equal citizens of the world. Women and girls have the right to live free from intimidation, persecution and all other forms of discrimination. There must be measures put in place to stop the violation of the rights to education and dignity not just of school girls in the North-East but women and girls in Nigeria as a whole.
“Since the insurgency in the North-East of Nigeria, 6 in 10 girls are reported to have experienced a form of gender-based violence (GBV) and many have limited access to sexual and reproductive healthcare. UNFPA has a comprehensive response for women and girls affected by the conflict in the North- East and works with national authorities to support thousands of women and girls who have escaped orbeen released from Boko Haram”, the statement read in part.
UNFPA and partners have provided direct prevention and response services to over200,000 women and girl survivors or at risk of GBV through its ‘safe spaces’ and communityoutreach. Over 3.5 million survivors have been provided with sexual and reproductive health careservices and psychosocial support and counseling.