Internally Displaced women and girls
A woman, name withheld, has cried out how women and girls have been subjected to sexual and gender violence in the Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, camps in the Northeast, saying that she has been raped so many times that she could not remember.
The woman who fluently spoke in Hausa language said, as interpreted by Legal Defence and Assistance Project, LEDAP, “I have been raped so many times that I can’t even remember” narrated her ugly experiences in the IDPs camp and called on the Nigerian government, and key relevant authorities to come to their rescue.
A report released yesterday by the Legal Defence and Assistance Project, LEDAP, in partnership with the Center for Reproductive Rights revealed that women and girls affected by conflicts were particularly vulnerable to sexual and gender-based violence including rape, sexually transmitted infections, sex trafficking, forced marriage, and unintended pregnancy.
The report, “ The Conflict in Northeast Nigeria’s Impact on the Sexual and reproductive Rights of Women and Girls” revealed high incidences of recurring sexual and gender based violence, forced and child marriage, sexual exploitation in exchange for food and water w which occurs with impunity in IDPs and host communities.
It also showed that access to maternal care services including skilled birth attendants and essential medicines remained a key barrier for the women who eventually made it to IDP camps and host communities.
According to the report, many conflict affected victims recounted their experience of fleeing invasion by Boko Haram while pregnant. Many had been raped by the group and lost their pregnancies as a result. Those who did not, ultimately gave birth without any skilled attendance while camped out on roads, while seeking shelter underneath trees, in abandoned buildings, and in military detention centres. Many suffered maternal injuries and others died.
Launching this report in Abuja yesterday, LEDAP called on the Nigerian government to fulfill its human rights obligations, promote women and girls’ sexual and reproductive health, and rights in conflict settings.
In her speech, the Senior Program Manager, Mrs. Pamela Okoroigwe called on the Nigerian government to comply with its international and regional human rights obligation in regarding access to maternal health care services to ensure women and girls affected by conflict-related violence access comprehensive medical and support services, including psychosocial support.
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