Nigeria protest bring back our girls Michael Fleshman/Flickr

Bring Them Back Now

It has been nearly a year since Boko Haram kidnapped 276 girls from their school in the town of Chibok in northern Nigeria. This week, a show of solidarity will demonstrate the strength of a global struggle for civil rights and safe schools.

LONDON – It has been nearly a year since the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram kidnapped 276 girls from their school in the town of Chibok in northern Nigeria on April 14, 2014. This week, on the website for the Office of the United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education, I will be publishing pictures of the missing girls.

I expect many will find the photographs shocking; they reveal just how young and vulnerable the kidnapped children are. At the time of their abduction, the girls were 14, 15, and 16 years old. They were seized while studying for their exams. They wanted to become nurses, doctors, and teachers. Instead, they are now about to enter their second year of imprisonment.

It is for this crime, and others like it, that the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack has developed Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict, to which all countries are being called on to commit at an international conference in June.

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