Widespread violations of children’s rights take place throughout the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. The combination of high poverty levels, environmental degradation and corruption mean that many children do not enjoy their basic rights. These include the rights to food, water, housing, health and education.
The deeply held belief in child ‘witches’ also has a significant negative effect on children’s rights. These children often suffer frequent violations of their rights to be free from torture, violence and abuse. Children who have been stigmatised as witches are usually rejected or abandoned by their families and communities. As with other street children, this means their rights to family life, to play, to be free from economic exploitation, and to be suitably cared for are all abused. Most importantly, the killing of children who have been stigmatised as 'witches' violates one of the most important rights – the right to life.
The Nigerian Government has international legal obligations to ensure that the rights of all children in Nigeria are properly protected. It is their responsibility to guarantee that all children’s basic needs are met. It is also their duty to ensure that those people who violate children’s rights are prosecuted and punished. They should provide proper alternative care for children who have been abandoned or who have been forced to leave their family or community.
We believe that all children have rights and that those rights must be protected. We work tirelessly to ensure that children’s rights are respected and that the Nigerian Government fulfils its legal obligations. We believe passionately in the power of education to help protect children’s rights and are working closely with our partners to make sure that children are empowered with an awareness of their rights.
More information on children's rights in Nigeria: