Letter from the UK Africa Minister: “Officials at the British High Commission in Abuja raised Leah’s case with the Nigerian authorities earlier this year.”…” The Government shares… concern about increasing insecurity across Nigeria.”

Jan 12, 2022 | Uncategorized

Letter from the UK Africa Minister: “Officials at the British High Commission in Abuja raised Leah’s case with the Nigerian authorities earlier this year.”…” The Government shares… concern about increasing insecurity across Nigeria.”

Vicky Ford MP
Minister for Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean
King Charles Street
London
SW1A 2AH

House of Lords
London
SW1A 0PW
www.gov.uk/fcdo


Dear Lord Alton


Thank you for email of 6 December … about Nigeria.

The Government shares… concern about increasing insecurity across Nigeria. Sexual violence in conflict, terrorism, intercommunal violence and criminality, including kidnappings, are having a devastating impact on affected communities, including women and girls. We condemn all incidents of violence against civilians.


We are committed to putting women and girls at the centre of our efforts to prevent violence against them. Nigeria is one of nine focus countries in the UK’s Women Peace and Security (WPS) National Action Plan. The WPS agenda promotes the empowerment of women and girls by advocating respect for women and girls’ human rights in conflict, and through efforts to prevent, reduce, and transition from, armed conflict. Nigeria is also the UK’s partner in the G7 WPS Partnership Initiative. This initiative aims to promote the implementation of the WPS agenda on the ground, and will provide an opportunity for the UK and other G7 members to share experiences and to learn from each partner country.


Sexual violence in conflict sadly remains a global challenge. The Foreign Secretary has made tackling conflict-related sexual violence one of her top priorities. The UK will be exploring options for strengthening the international consensus on tackling sexual violence in conflict, including a new international Convention. In 2022, we will be hosting an international conference to mark 10 years since the launch of the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative. This will be an important opportunity to review progress, identify challenges and agree further action.


We routinely raise conflict-related sexual violence with our Nigerian counterparts. During recent visits to Plateau and Benue state, British High Commission officials met with displaced women and children, some of whom were survivors of conflict-related sexual violence. Officials discussed their needs with Police Commissioners and Governors in both states and urged the authorities to increase survivor-centred support. In the North-


East of the country, we have supported sessions on trauma and mental health for women and girls affected by the conflict.


You asked for an update on the case of Leah Sharibu. We condemn the abduction of the Dapchi school girls in Nigeria in 2018 and the ongoing captivity of Leah Sharibu by Islamic State West Africa (ISWA). We remain concerned by reports of Leah’s forced conversion and pregnancy. Officials at the British High Commission in Abuja raised Leah’s case with the Nigerian authorities earlier this year.

The authorities have assured us that they remain committed to securing her return.
We will continue to encourage the Nigerian Government to take urgent action to protect all those at risk of violence, including sexual violence in conflict, and to bring perpetrators to justice.

Yours sincerely,

Vicky Ford MP
Minister for Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean

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