Senseless Christmastime Killings By Boko Haram and the Need for the World’s Recommitment to Recovering the Chibok Girlsby Representative Sheila Jackson Lee
Posted on 2016-01-11
in the house of representatives
Monday, January 11, 2016
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, over the Christmas 2015 break, 50
people were murdered and 114 others wounded in the northeastern
Nigerian cities of Maiduguri and Madagali, Borno State, which is the
birthplace of Boko Haram.
Today also marks 633 days since 276 Chibok girls were kidnapped from their dormitories in the middle of night.
Violence on the citizens of the world in sacred places such as our homes, places of worship, educational institutions and recreational venues is unacceptable and detestable.
To keep the Chibok 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. Sadly, while we grapple with the sore of the kidnapping of the Chibok girls, with horror, we watched on the news, violence wreaked by Boko Haram during the holidays.
As we all know, Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for the massacres.
I have met with the Nigerian President and was part of a delegation to Nigeria to engage local leaders, activists, businesses and families of victims of Boko Haram on strategies for recovering and reintegrating the Chibok girls and many others who have been kidnapped or suffered violence. These senseless killings and kidnappings by Boko Haram must stop.
The Chibok girls are not throwaways and the world cannot and should not forget them. Those who lost their lives during the Christmastime massacres have families and loved ones whose hearts have been broken because of the pain and anguish they must now feel.
We must continue to press on in our concerted efforts to assure victims that Boko Haram will be combatted and assure our Chibok daughters that we still care and that we are committed to bringing them back home and will work to protect them and 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.
I am committed to the protection of the Nigerian people and it is my view that the people of Nigeria and others in the Lake Chad Basin in Africa should be afforded the protection they deserve and the opportunity to live their lives free of terrorism and fear.
This is why I introduced H. Res. 528, legislation that enjoyed bipartisan support of my [[Page E29]] 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.
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 the victims of Boko Haram's terror such as those of the Christmastime 2015 massacres.
All persons of the world from Syria to Nigeria to Colombia and everywhere in between possess the inalienable fundamental human right to freedom of movement and full realization of their human potential without fear of violence upon their person.
Last month, 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 right of all human beings.
Indeed, we must continue to fight for the freedoms of our neighbors whether those for whom we fight are out of sight such as the murdered and wounded in northeastern Nigeria or the kidnapped Chibok teenage girls 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.
Mr. Speaker, those murdered and wounded during the Christmastime massacres included a lot of youth. When they were kidnapped, the Chibok youth 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 and denouncing the atrocious actions of Boko Haram.
This cannot be the fate or the end of the story of the lives of the victims of Boko Haram. 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. To the families of the Christmastime massacre, you are in our thoughts and prayers.
To the Chibok girls, 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 your girls thrive our world thrives.
So let me assure you that you remain in our prayers and thoughts. To President Buhari of Nigeria, you have our support and you have my support in all your efforts to destroy and dismantle Boko Haram. To the people of Nigeria, we are counting on you to keep holding on, keep your faith strong and be assured that you are on the right side of history and that the arc of the moral universe always tips on the right side of justice.
Today, let me offer that it is important to denounce the actions of Boko Haram and recommit ourselves to the protection of the Nigerian people and the recovery of the Chibok girls.