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Reaction to Reuters report on Nigerian military abortion programme

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A Nigerian woman, unnamed to protect her identity, who told Reuters she received an abortion under a secret program run by the Nigerian military, poses for a portrait in an undisclosed location in Nigeria, September 28, 2020. Military leaders denied the abortion program ever existed. To match Special Report NIGERIA-MILITARY/ABORTIONS REUTERS/Paul Carsten

A Reuters investigation published on Wednesday revealed that the Nigerian Army has run a secret, systematic and illegal abortion programme in the country’s northeast since at least 2013.

The programme has involved terminating at least 10,000 pregnancies among women and girls, many of whom had been kidnapped and raped by Islamist militants, according to dozens of witness accounts and documentation reviewed by Reuters.

Here are some reactions to the report:

“My reaction to it in the first instance was a personal one in that I read it and was deeply disturbed by it. It was a harrowing report … It’s a concerning report, and for that reason we are seeking further information.”

“The stories in this report are heartbreaking and – if verified – represent a large-scale, and deeply concerning, abuse of human rights.

“It is the responsibility of UK authorities to ensure that their support of the Nigerian military does not aid human rights abuses and we expect the Government to take these allegations seriously.

“The Committee will do its part and will continue to follow this story closely as part of ongoing scrutiny of the UK’s relationship with Nigeria.”

“This is a deeply disturbing report. Nigeria’s government, and our government, must investigate these troubling allegations. Swift action must be taken against those found to have carried out this policy of murder and violation of rights.”

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