Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson (FL-24), Congressman Ed Royce (CA-39), Congressman Eliot L. Engel (NY-16), Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-26), Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-4), and Congressman Karen Bass (CA-37) introduced H.Res. 573, a resolution condemning the abduction of Nigerian school girls by the terrorist group Boko Haram. The Members issued the following statement:
"Women and girls must be allowed to go to school without fear of violence and unjust treatment," said Congresswoman Wilson. "I am deeply disturbed by the kidnapping of hundreds of female students in Nigeria. We must end this nightmare for these girls. We must do everything within our power to ensure the safe return of these precious young girls, and strengthen efforts to protect them from those who conduct violent attacks. I am proud to have introduced U.S. House Resolution 573 because these young women could be our daughters, our sisters, our nieces -- we must bring back our girls."
"Like the rest of the world, I am both shocked and saddened by the abhorrent and appalling kidnappings of these 300 girls," said Congressman Royce, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. "Many people around the world are now first learning of Boko Haram's terrorizing and vicious tactics; unfortunately for the communities in northern Nigeria, this terror has been the norm for years. This resolution importantly puts the House on record in condemning the abduction of these girls and affirms our support for U.S. assistance to help with the search."
"The kidnapping of as many as 300 girls is a horrific crime that stands as just one more example of why Boko Haram must be stopped," said Congressman Engel, the leading Democrat of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. "I support U.S. efforts to assist in recovering the abducted girls, but the Government of Nigeria must do better in their campaign against Boko Haram and in finding these girls and reuniting them with their families."
"I join my South Florida colleague, Frederica, in introducing legislation condemning the horrific actions committed by the terrorist group Boko Haram in Nigeria, and I thank her for her leadership on this important topic," said Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen, Chairman Emeritus of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. "The mass kidnappings of hundreds of schoolgirls is heartbreaking and extremely distressing. We've heard the harrowing tales of women who have been kidnapped by these extremists and must shock one's conscience. That is why it's imperative that these girls be rescued immediately, and for Boko Haram's leaders be brought to justice. Our Foreign Affairs committee will pass this legislation on Friday seeking to illustrate our support and I'm pleased that the U.S. will assist in the search for these kidnapped girls, but we must do more to help Nigeria and other local governments combat the rising threat that these tragedies pose for the region or risk more of these situations in the future."
"We must leave no stone unturned in responding to this unconscionable act," said Congressman Chris Smith, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on the Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations. "The fight to end human trafficking and protect the victims -- primarily women and girls -- must continue to be an international priority. The U.S. and Nigerian governments must work more closely together to end this new form of human trafficking before this ruthless group expands this practice further."
"Children's rights are human rights, and these types of attacks, specifically targeting schools, are strictly prohibited under international law and cannot be justified under any circumstances," said Congresswoman Karen Bass, the leading Democrat of the House Subcommittee on the Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations. "Schools are places of refuge and safety, where children should be allowed to learn and grow without fearing harm coming to them. Girls and young women around the world absolutely must be allowed to go to school peacefully and free from intimidation, persecution and all other forms of discrimination. The kidnapping of the young women in Nigeria is horrific and despicable and I hope and pray that these girls will soon return to their parents."