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Justice Fellowship Spotlight - Hadiza Abba advocating for former Boko Haram wives, as war victims.

💫Hadiza (Abuja, Nigeria) - SAHR Justice Fellow 2021/2022💫

Hadiza is a human rights defender based in Abuja, originally from Borno, North-East Nigeria. After her legal studies, she worked as a UN Volunteer mobilizing local actors & the Nigerian government towards the implementation of the 2030 agenda on sustainable development. Since then she has been working with UNODC, increasing the capacity of local prosecutors, judges & civil society organizations.

🔸Country Context

Borno is a region struggling from the ongoing Boko Haram terrorism-induced humanitarian crisis. Boko Haram’s crimes have been acknowledged but the sexual violence inflicted has not received any attention. This has resulted in no accountability for their sexual violence crimes and lack of justice for survivors of sexual misconduct.

🔸Fellowship outcomes & long-term impact

With SAHR's support, Hadiza forged pathways to hold Boko Haram soldiers accountable for the crimes of sexual violence and to recognize former wives of Boko Haram as victims of the war. She was able to develop strategic partnerships with NGOs working in the field. The fellowship assisted in facilitating travel and logistics such as printing, data for Internet connection, professional interpreter & psychosocial officer to accompany interviews with victims. She worked towards ensuring that sexual violence is recognised in laws, practises & processes and that gender-equal & victim-centrered approaches are integrated to strengthen justice responses to conflict-related sexual violence.

🔸Key messages/learnings

It is important to get access to the victims to obtain credible testimony as witnesses given that they have undergone severe forms of stress & experienced serious forms of violence in the hands of terrorists. They have also been subjected to vetting upon military capture/ rescue, to ensure they have not been deradicalised through close associations with terrorist groups during capture and therefore, will not pose any risks or themselves become targets to assaults by aggrieved communities when eventually released into communities for reintegration.


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