Nigerian schoolgirls rape victims if forcibly married, French minister
France is ready to do all it can to help save the Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by the Boko Haram Islamist group, Women’s Rights Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem said on Friday, adding that they are victims of rape and paedophilia if they have been forcibly married.
“This kidnapping has touched the heart of all humanity,” Vallaud-Belkacem told RTL radio, declaring that France, which has offered to send a team of specialists to help track down the 200 girls, is ready to do all it can to aid the efforts.
In a video made public on Monday Boko Haram leader Aboubakar Shekau said he would sell the girls “on the market” and “marry them off” because “women are slaves”.
“The term forced marriage is not appropriate,” Vallaud-Belkacem commented. “If a child is married to an adult that’s called rape, repeated rape even, and since children are involved it’s even called paedophilia.
“Reducing individuals to slavery is a crime against humanity which must be condemned as such.”
Hard-right MP Thierry Mariani sparked controversy earlier this week when he tweeted “The kidnapping by the Boko Haram sect reminds us that Africa dodn’t wait for the West to practise slavery #deculpabilisation.”
The leader of his party, the UMP, on Thursday said he “profoundly regretted” Mariani’s statement.