SENATE APPROVES RESOLUTION CALLING FOR RETURN OF ABDUCTED GIRLS IN NIGERIA

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Democratic Caucus Joins Worldwide Effort to #BringBackOurGirls

 

TRENTON – Demonstrating support for the effort to find and return more than 200 girls abducted by a terrorist group from a boarding school in Nigeria, the state Senate today unanimously approved a resolution calling for their immediate and safe return and urging all county and municipal governments in New Jersey to pass a resolution calling for the same. The measure is Sponsored by Senate President Pro Tempore Nia H. Gill, Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, Senator M. Teresa Ruiz and Senator Sandra Bolden Cunningham, and co-sponsored by the entire Senate Democratic Caucus which today joined the worldwide effort to bring attention to this tragic situation through social media in order to #BringBackOurGirls.

In addition to supporting the effort to find and return the girls safely to their families, the measure (SR-74) expresses support for the people of Nigeria and the families and parents of the young women; supports the United States’ offer of support to the Nigerian government; and recognizes that everyone deserves the opportunity to safely obtain an education.

“The mass abduction that occurred in Nigeria is a tragedy that has caused shock and outrage around the world, and has again brought the global issue of human trafficking and violence against young women to the forefront,” said Senator Gill (D-Essex). “Human trafficking is committed against girls in countries around the world, including our own, and right here in New Jersey. We have to combat these deplorable crimes both here and abroad. This resolution affirms our support for the effort to bring these girls home and for the worldwide effort to end human trafficking. It also expresses our belief that all people, regardless of gender, deserve the opportunity to safely get an education. Today, we must also reaffirm our commitment to fighting all kinds of human trafficking wherever it occurs.”

Known terrorist group Boko Haram – which loosely translates to “western education is sin” – abducted at least 276 female students, most of them between 15 and 18 years old, on April 14, 2014, from the GovernmentGirlsSecondary School, a boarding school located in the northeastern province of Borno in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. On May 5, 2014, suspected Boko Haram gunmen kidnapped an additional eight girls from a northeastern village in Nigeria. Boko Haram’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, in a video recording declared his plan to sell the girls abducted by the militant group. The United States has offered its assistance to the government of Nigeria in the search for these abducted young women.

“This deplorable crime was committed as a means to keep these girls from going to school, getting an education, and becoming strong and independent. It is not so different than what occurs in countries around the world, and here in our country, in which traffickers steal the dreams of young women who were destined for something better,” said Majority Leader Weinberg (D-Bergen). “The kidnapping of hundreds of girls in Nigeria is a tragedy and a heart-wrenching reminder that we must work together to end this horrific practice. With this resolution, we are showing our support for the effort to bring home these young girls, and to stop this senseless crime from occurring in our communities and in those around the world.”

“This abduction has shaken not only citizens of Nigeria, but people across the globe. With this resolution we are joining the cause to, as has been echoed on social media around the world, ‘bring back our girls,’” said Senator Cunningham (D-Hudson). “We are also committing today to renew our effort to protect young women here at home by working to end human trafficking, a crime that affects people in our cities, our suburbs and from all walks of life.”

“With this vote, the Senate demonstrated its support for the effort to find and return to their families hundreds of girls who were kidnapped from their school, a place that should be a safe haven for children everywhere,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex). “We also said loud and clear that all young people, regardless of their gender, deserve the opportunity to go to school and to feel safe doing so. I want to thank my colleagues for their support of this important measure, and I urge local governments to take action to do the same.”

The resolution also encourages the government of Nigeria to strengthen efforts to protect the ability of children to safely obtain an education; encourages the government of Nigeria to work with the United States and other concerned governments to resolve this tragic situation and ensure the safe and swift rescue of the young women; and encourages the United States Department of State and the United States Agency for International Development to continue their support of initiatives that promote and protect the human rights, safety, and welfare of women and girls in Nigeria.

Copies of the resolution, as filed with the Secretary of State, will be transmitted by the Secretary of the Senate to: the President and Vice President of the United States of America, the Secretary of State of the United States Department of State, the Majority and Minority Leaders of the United States Senate, the Speaker and Majority and Minority Leaders of the United States House of Representatives, every member of Congress elected from this State, the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, the Secretary of State of the New Jersey Department of State, the New Jersey League of Municipalities, and the New Jersey Association of Counties.