The Case of Bariya Ibrahim Magazu – Honorable John Manley

January 18, 2001

The Hon John Manley,
Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade,
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
K1A 0A6

Dear Mr. Manley:

I am writing on behalf of the members of the National Council of Women of Canada to thank you for the stand which you have taken in the case of Bariya Ibrahim Magazu, the Nigerian girl who was sentenced to 180 lashes after she became pregnant as a result of sexual assault by several older men. As you know, our organization has been very concerned about the fate of this girl and the issues it raises in relation to several international conventions affecting the rights of women and children.

The Globe and Mail of January 15 has now reported that the sentence has been reduced and postponed indefinitely to allow for the preparation of legal appeals. It is to be hoped that the postponement is a permanent one.

It seems clear that this change in the court decision is in response to pressure from the international community.

We appreciate the leadership that you have taken in this matter, which will surely help to set an important precedent in international recognition of the rights of women and children.


Elizabeth Hutchinson,
National Council of Women of Canada

Copies to: Hon Jean Chrétien, Prime Minister of Canada
Hon Hedy Fry, Minister for the Status of Women
Hon Anne McLellan, Minister of Justice
Ruth Brown, NCWC Convener Health and Welfare
Catharine Laidlaw-Sly, NCWC VP Citizenship and International Affairs