CHIBOK, Nigeria — A worldwide vigil was held on Wednesday, July 23 for the ongoing movement to respect girls’ rights. The vigil will mark 100 agonizing days in captivity for the 200 Nigerian schoolgirls who were kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists in April.
The kidnapping has sparked an international outrage, which has yet to subside. Besides receiving global condemnation for the kidnapping, a larger movement has arisen from the horrendous terrorist acts perpetrated by Boko Haram.
The international community can no longer sit idly by while girls’ rights are trampled upon. The kidnapping has shed light on the many human rights violations committed against young girls around the world.
In turn, girls’ rights are quickly becoming an issue of utmost importance.
To protest the atrocities that young girls face around the world — from sex trafficking to genital mutilation to honor killings — a wide range of organizations agreed to take part in the candlelit demonstrations.
In a variety of African countries like Tunisia and Tanzania, the Global March Against Child Labour is organizing their vigil to combat child slavery.
In Pakistan, the girls’ rights group Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi held their vigil to fight for girls’ right to education.
In India, the vigil was held by the Bachpan Bachao Andolan group to protest the kidnapping and slave labor of young girls that frequently take place in the region.
And in Nigeria, Girls Not Brides organized a vigil both for the hundreds of kidnapped girls and for the thousands of girls around the world who are forced to marry against their will.
The vigil is set to be a worldwide event in which hundreds of organizations will gather to remind the world that girls’ rights matter.
While the vigil itself is not a solution, it marks the beginnings of the latest global human rights movement. Local girls’ rights organizations are banding together to bolster the larger cause. Together, a variety of umbrella organizations have committed to the goals of: “zero child labor, zero child marriage, zero education exclusion and zero discrimination against girls at schools.”
Plans are already in place for the Emergency Coalition for Global Education Action to launch a campaign in September to get 57 million more children in school.
After the terrorist abductions in Nigeria, the world has been awakened to the reality that 7 million school age girls around the world are working full-time when they should be in school. Most of these girls are working in slave labor conditions.
With this vigil and the growing girls’ rights movement, the international community is committing to keeping young girls in school, out of arranged marriages, and above all else, safe from terrorists and slavers.
– Sam Hillestad
Sources: CNN, The Washington Post
Photo: Daniel Rezmer