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PEN resolution on the abduction of school-aged girls

This resolution was submitted by PIWWC, and passed at the 82nd PEN International Congress in Ourense, Spain:

Violence against women and girls has long threatened freedom of expression, and the wider global context of gender inequality continues to be a very serious threat to the participation of women and girls in literature, and to the education and literacy of girls.

In particular, the abduction of school-aged girls is an ongoing global issue and – as well as being an act of gender-based violence in and of itself – typically marks the end of an individual’s education: prohibiting her participation in, contribution to, and access to global literature both as a reader and a writer.

Recent examples of this include:

It is very difficult to find global statistics on child abduction, as there seems to be very little recognition or understanding around this issue. Nonetheless, compelling evidence – both anecdotal and reported – shows that the abduction of school-aged girls is a serious and growing issue in many countries. The impact of this violence interacts with an ongoing silencing of the voices and narratives of the girls and women affected; the curtailing of their educations; and an exclusion from all the opportunities that come with education and literacy. The climate of fear created by this situation poses a further threat to other female students for whom the risk of abduction may be a prohibiting factor in their own choice or opportunity to attend school.

The first step in tackling this is acknowledging, researching, and documenting these cases. Work must also be done to further understand the impact that the abduction of school-aged girls has on:

Both of these issues – gender equality and access to education – are priorities in the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The Assembly of Delegates of PEN International, meeting at its 82nd World Congress in Ourense, Galicia (Spain), 26th September to 2nd October 2016, calls on all governments:

The Assembly of Delegates of PEN International also calls on UN Women: