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Interview: "Bring back our girls," UN official says

English.news.cn   2014-05-15 00:03:24

by Stephanie Parker

UNITED NATIONS, May 14 (Xinhua) -- As days and nights go on without the 200-plus abducted Nigerian girls safely back in their homes, the international community is raising their virtual voices through various viral statements.

"Bring back our girls," direct of a division in the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women ( UN Women), Gulden Turkoz-Cosslett, said in a recent interview with Xinhua.

"These are the world's girls. They are Nigerian young girls, but everybody's empathy, feeling, mutual support and solidarity are with them," said Turkoz-Cosslett, director of the Program Support Division of the UN Women.

"The girls have been missing for more than 24 days," she said. "I cannot even imagine the horror the families, the Nigerian people and the girls are facing."

In mid-April, the Islamist Sect Boko Haram took responsibility for the abduction of more than 200 Nigerian girls from Chibok, a community located in Nigeria's northeastern state of Borno.

Boko Haram seeks to preserve Islamic Sharia law in the constitution and has slowly been infiltrating the nation of Nigeria as the country remains in a volatile state.

The abduction drew international condemnation.

Last week, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other UN high- ranking officials expressed "deep concern" over the alleged seizure of more girls as well as the continued stress of the 200- plus girls snatched from their school and the chaotic condition of Nigeria.

The UN Security Council also expressed its "profound outrage" at and condemned "in the strongest terms" the abduction.

The UN Women is taking a swift and comprehensive action in this regard.

"As an immediate step, we have been in touch with the UN country team and organizations other than the UN to see what we can do," Tukoz-Cosslett said.

Aside from this, "we are working together with member states to create a world in which girls can go to school in peace, return home unharmed and return to their families," she said while raising concern over how to support the girl's families.

"One of the things that we have been discussing with the UN resident coordinator and our office in Abuja (the capital of Nigeria) is ... how do we support families and provide psycho, social and other support," she said.

"Hopefully the girls will be back soon. If they would require ( psycho and social support) we are ready to do so," she said.

Outside of planning for the girls' return, the UN agency is engaging students and teachers.

"We are looking at schools to see what we can do," Tukoz- Cosslett said.

"Having contact with all the school kids where we work, encouraging them to really take five minutes of their time" to make a stand, she said. "Ideally, on a selected day, school children and students around the world would demonstrated at a selected time with plaque cards reading 'bring back our girls'."

Editor: yan
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