Amnesty International criticized in strong terms the ill-treatment of pregnant girls in Sierra Leone.
Recent reports from Amnesty International, have it that thousands of pregnant schoolgirls have been excluded from mainstream schools and barred from sitting upcoming exams, risk being left behind as Sierra Leone moves forward from the Ebola crisis.
The report, Shamed and blamed: Pregnant girls’ rights at risk in Sierra Leone, reveals how the prohibition, confirmed by the government in April this year and sometimes enforced through humiliating physical checks, not only stigmatizes an estimated 10,000 girls but risks destroying their future life opportunities. With exams scheduled for 23 November, Amnesty International is calling on authorities to immediately lift the ban.
Sabrina Mahtani, Amnesty International’s West Africa Researcher disclosed that;
Excluding pregnant girls from mainstream schools and banning them from sitting crucial exams is discriminatory and will have devastating consequences. Education is a right and not something for governments to arbitrarily take away as a punishment.
Amnesty International has documented how this ban has been enforced in some schools through humiliating and degrading treatment of girls. Girls have been subjected to degrading physical searches and tests. Some have had their breasts and stomachs felt by teachers to “test” for pregnancy. Others have been compelled by their school to take pregnancy tests.