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(Abuja) – Government officials and other authorities in Nigeria have raped and sexually exploited women and girls displaced by the conflict with Boko Haram.
The government is not doing enough to protect displaced women and girls and ensure that they have access to basic rights and services or to sanction the abusers, who include camp leaders, vigilante groups, policemen, and soldiers.
Restricted movement in the camps is contrary to Principle 14.2 of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, which provides that internally displaced people have “the right to move freely in and out of camps and other settlements.” In some cases, men used their positions of authority and gifts of desperately needed food or other items to have sex with women.
A woman in a Dalori camp said residents get only one meal a day.
The victims had been displaced from several Borno towns and villages, including Abadam, Bama, Baga, Damasak, Dikwa, Gamboru Ngala, Gwoza, Kukawa, and Walassa.
“Failure to respond to these widely reported abuses amounts to severe negligence or worse by Nigerian authorities,” Segun said.
“Authorities should provide adequate aid in the camps, ensure freedom of movement for all displaced people, safe and confidential health care for survivors, and punish the abusers.” Movement Restrictions, Food Shortages Fuel Sexual Abuse Most of the victims interviewed lived in camps for displaced people. When my menstrual period did not come, I knew I was pregnant and just wanted to die to join my dead mother.
A 17-year-old girl said that just over a year after she fled the frequent Boko Haram attacks in Dikwa, a town 56 miles west of Maiduguri, a policeman approached her for “friendship” in the camp, and then he raped her.
“One day he demanded to have sex with me,” she said. It happened just that one time, but soon I realized I was pregnant.
Irregular supplies of food, clothing, medicine, and other essentials, along with restricted movement in the IDP camps in Maiduguri, compounds the vulnerability of victims – many of them widowed women and unaccompanied orphaned girls – to rape and sexual exploitation by camp officials, soldiers, police, members of civilian vigilante groups, and other Maiduguri residents.