Contra Nocendi statement on the kidnapping of children from PSS Nkwen

Contra Nocendi welcomes with great relief the news of the release of the 79 children abducted from PSS Nkwen Bamenda. We have expressed our disgust for this act which amounts to a serious violation of international human rights and international humanitarian law. The idea that it is ever acceptable to kidnap children is unequivocally wrong. These children were at a boarding school to be educated and put in a position to have better opportunities in life. Instead their rights have been unquestionably violated and their safety has been put at risk. We are unable to see the logic in such behaviour. Ripping children from their beds in their dorms is not heroic. It is a cowardly act.

Contra Nocendi has in the past repeatedly condemned the use of children as pawns and strongly advocated for the respect of children’s right to access to education. We stand by this declaration and have in the past defended our position. We are guided by the firm believe that children who represent one of most vulnerable groups in every society need special protection from harm. We are equally guided by the array of international laws including IHRL and IHL and the near global support for children’s right specifically their right to education. The collective international condemnation of the recent abductions speaks to this.  We have reiterated the fact that the international community frowns at actions that threaten children’s access to education. We have previously shared the view that very few in this current age will remain indifferent to the plight of children of school going age being forcefully deprived of education. That no entity or party in any conflict is likely to gain credibility in the eyes of the international community for depriving children from education.

Some NGOs have raised concerns about the age of the children that were abducted in terms of them potentially being used in the future as child soldiers. We remind anyone wishing to induce children to join an armed group and/or to induce children to directly participate in hostilities are acting in a manner inconsistent with international law. Doing so during an armed conflict, regardless of the character of said conflict, is a violation of international humanitarian law and is a war crime.

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