ACLJ Requests the Immediate Release of Captive Christian Teen Leah Sharibu at the U.N. Human Rights Council
We have told you the tragic story of Leah Sharibu. Leah is a Christian schoolgirl who was kidnapped as a 14-year-old along with her fellow classmates in February of 2018. Despite the fact that most of her classmates have been released – five were killed – Leah remains imprisoned because she refuses to renounce her Christian faith. On May 14, 2020, Leah turned 17, marking the third time she has spent her birthday as a captive of Boko Haram.
Through our European affiliate, the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ), we filed an important written submission before the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) advocating for an end to the violence and the safe release of Leah Sharibu.
Children within Nigeria are particularly vulnerable. According to [the United Nations agency] UNICEF, atrocities carried out by Boko Haram and other jihadist groups have orphaned nearly 60,000 children, and forced 1.4 million children from their homes. Furthermore, according to another recent report by UNICEF, “in northeastern Nigeria, abduction of children is a frequent occurrence. Since 2013, over 1,000 children have suffered this fate a[t] the hands of Boko Haram”.
We focused on Leah Sharibu, who remains a hostage after almost two and a half years:
In February of 2018 Boko Haram insurgents raided the Government Girls Science Technical College in Dapchi, Yobe State and abducted 110 schoolgirls. Approximately four weeks later, Boko Haram released 104 of the schoolgirls while five of the girls died while being held captive, the only girl to remain captive is Leah Sharibu. To this day, Leah remains captive for one reason, her refusal to renounce her Christian faith.
Furthermore, we urged the UNHRC to take immediate action as time is running out. As Boko Haram’s captive, Leah’s life is in constant danger. Immediate action must be taken.
Clearly, Leah’s situation is a dire one. It is imperative that the U.N. take swift action and work with the government of Nigeria to ensure that Leah and all others who remain captured are returned home safely and to put an end to the atrocities being carried out in Nigeria by Boko Haram and the Fulani herdsmen. No one should have to live under the fear of being abducted, enslaved or killed.
We will continue to urge the international community to work to ensure her immediate release. Join us as we continue to fight for the freedom of this innocent young girl.
Sign our petition and demand Leah Sharibu be brought home safely.