UNICEF claims in a new report that Boko Haram has ruined far more lives than the we knew about, and it’s hoping social media activism can inspire some change.
On April 14, it will have been a year since Boko Haram kidnapped more than 230 girls from a school in Nigeria. While the world, has almost forgotten the #BringBackOurGirls movement, UNICEF is shedding light on how many more lives the terrorist organization has really affected.
According to CNN, UNICEF stated today that “number of children running for their lives within Nigeria, or crossing over the border to Chad, Niger and Cameroon, has more than doubled in just less than a year.”
More specifically, UNICEF alleged in a report that it released, “Around 800,000 children have been forced to flee their homes as a result of the conflict in northeast Nigeria between Boko Haram, military forces and civilian self-defense groups.”
All told, over 1.5 million people have reportedly been displaced by Boko Haram and the violence its members have inflicted upon Nigeria. Children account for more than three times the amount of adults in the group that have been forced to flee their homes. These people have taken refuge in different communities, but they are putting a strain on resources in the areas hosting them.
For the kids that have been abducted, all of their childhoods were abruptly cut short the moment they were snatched up by Boko Haram. Whether they’re being used as child soldiers or unwillingly married off, UNICEF is hoping that the #BringBackOurChildhood hashtag on social media will raise awareness about the lasting effect that Boko Haram is still having in the region.
“Young women and girls are being subjected to forced marriage, forced labor and rape,” the humanitarian organization stated. “Scores of girls and boys have gone missing in Nigeria — abducted, recruited by armed groups, attacked, used as weapons, or forced to flee violence. They have the right to get their childhoods back.”