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UN expert urges talks to end Nigeria kidnap crisis

Published on May 14, 2014 6:41 AM

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United Nations’ top expert on worldwide human trafficking called Tuesday for the negotiated release of Nigerian schoolgirls held by Boko Haram rebels, amid worries they might be sold off.

“The elements of trafficking are there,” said Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, the UN Human Rights Council’s special rapporteur on the issue, in a conference call with US-based foreign journalists.

“We cannot do politics with the lives of these young girls,” said Ms Ezeilo, a Nigerian herself, adding that she favours a negotiated solution rather than a military assault “that might jeapordise the lives of these girls.”

“What should be paramount in our minds is how to bring them safely back home,” she said. “They are minors. They have to be at home (and) they deserve to be in school... their education should not be in any way compromised.

Nigerians take part in a protest demanding for the release of secondary school girls abducted from the remote village of Chibok, in Asokoro, Abuja on May 13, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
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