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Sheila J.
Democrat TX 18

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  • Reflecting on the Need for the World’s Recommitment to Recovering the Chibok Girls

    by Representative Sheila Jackson Lee

    Posted on 2015-12-18

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    JACKSON LEE of texas in the house of representatives Friday, December 18, 2015 Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent to address the House for one minute and to revise and extend my remarks.

    Today is the last day that the House will be in session this year and it is imperative that we pause for a moment before we depart to our various homes to reflect on the fact that 612 days have passed since the Chibok girls were kidnapped from their dormitories in the middle of night.

    To keep these girls on our minds, all of us here in Congress have worn red every Wednesday to signal the urgency of rescuing, recovering and reintegrating these young women back into the arms of their parents.

    I have met with the Nigerian President and was part of a delegation to Nigeria to engage local leaders, activists, businesses and families of the kidnapped girls on strategies for recovering and reintegrating the Chibok girls and many others who have been kidnapped.

    These girls are not throwaways and the world cannot and should not forget them.

    We must continue to press on in our concerted efforts to assure these daughters of the world that we still care, that we are committed to bringing them back home and will work to reintegrate them back into our community with open arms.

    As founder and Co-Chair of the Caucus on Nigeria and Co-Chair of the Congressional Children's Caucus, the rescue, return and reintegration of the kidnapped Chibok girls continue to be my top priority.

    I believe that with our commitment, just as the Aboke girls were recovered after being kidnapped in Northern Uganda by the Lord's Resistance Army, the Chibok girls will be rescued, returned home and reintegrated back into the human family.

    This is why I have introduced H. Res. 528, legislation that enjoyed bipartisan support of my colleagues including Representatives Chu of California, Lee of California, Dold of Illinois, Hahn of California, Kelly of Illinois, Fudge of Ohio, Watson-Coleman of New Jersey, Sewell of Alabama, Brown of Florida, Thompson of Mississippi and my good friend Ms. Wilson of Florida.

    [[Page E1837]] My resolution seeks to create a Victims of Terror Protection Fund for the protection of the Chibok girls when they return home as well as provision of much needed support for them and other displaced refugees, migrants and victims of Boko Haram's terror in the region.

    The Chibok girls have the fundamental human right to freedom of movement, to education and to the full realization of their human potential.

    Last week, in our celebrations of the United Nations Human Rights Day, the global community rededicated itself to the key International Covenants on Human Rights: the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Covenants that serve as the bedrock of the International Bill of Rights: protecting the rights of all human beings.

    Indeed, we must continue to always fight for the freedoms of the least among us whether those for whom we fight are out of sight such as the kidnapped teenage girls from a boarding school in Chibok or educated medical doctors fleeing violent extremism in Syria.

    The bottom line is that our obligations in the human family must revolve around and be grounded in our conviction and commitment to the rights to freedom of movement, freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and the freedom from fear or terrorism, among others.

    We must remain steadfast in guaranteeing these fundamental freedoms and protect the human rights of all to achieve peace and prosperity in our world.

    When they were kidnapped, the Chibok girls were 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17 year olds who are now turning 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18-- living out the formative years of their lives in captivity in the claws of thugs.

    Our silence is a waste of time and this is why we must keep speaking, keep tweeting, keep seeking to recover our daughters.

    This cannot be the fate or the end of the story of their lives.

    We must not and cannot forget Blessing Abana, Deborah Abari, Rebecca Mallum, Naomi Luka, Esther Markus, Zara Ishaku, Ruth Joshua, Grace Paul, Rebecca Luka and the others.

    Chibok girls, daughters of the world, this holiday season, you remain in our thoughts and prayers.

    Notwithstanding your captivity, let me assure you that your spirits, souls and bodies are sacred to us, no matter what attacks the enemies of peace may have perpetrated upon you.

    Like your sister from Pakistan, Malala, who was shot in the head for seeking her education and who continues to fight for your recovery, your best days are ahead because we know that when you girls thrive our world thrives.

    This is why we are counting on you to keep holding on and be assured that help is on the way.


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