Gillibrand / Senators Condemn Boko Haram Kidnappings

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today joined all twenty Senate women in sending a bipartisan letter led by U.S. Senators Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine)  to President Obama condemning the abduction and mistreatment of more than 200 girls by the terrorist group Boko Haram in Chibok, Nigeria and calling for additional international sanctions against the organization. This comes after the U.S. Senate today unanimously passed a resolution condemning the group’s appalling actions. Boko Haram has threatened to sell the girls as slaves, and some may have already been sold into child marriages.

The United States State Department has designated Boko Haram as a Foreign Terrorist Organization and has reported that the group has links to al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb. In their letter, the Senate women urge President Obama to press for both Boko Haram and Ansaru, an offshoot of the group, to be listed as al-Qa’ida associates by the United Nations Security Council, compelling a greater number of countries to join the United States and others in imposing their own sanctions.

We condemn these appalling actions in the strongest possible terms, and we agree with you that the abduction of these girls is an outrage. The girls were targeted by Boko Haram simply because they wanted to go to school and pursue knowledge, and we believe the United States must respond quickly and definitively,” the Senators wrote. “In the face of the brazen nature of this horrific attack, the international community must impose further sanctions on this terrorist organization. We urge you to press for the addition of Boko Haram and Ansaru to the United Nations Security Council’s al-Qa’ida Sanctions List, the mechanism by which international sanctions are imposed on al-Qa’ida and al-Qa’ida-linked organizations.  Their addition to the List would compel a greater number of countries to sanction Boko Haram, joining several countries, including the United States, which have already done so.”

Here is the text from the letter;

Dear Mr. President:
As the women of the United States Senate, we are writing to yo u today deeply disturbed by the abduction and mistreatment of more than 200 girls by the terrorist group Boko Haram from the Government Secondary School in Chibok, Nigeria. Boko Haram has threatened to sell the girls as slaves, and some may have already been sold into child marriages. We condemn these appalling actions in the strongest possible terms, and we agree with you that the abduction of these girls is an outrage. The girls were targeted by Boko Haram simply because they wanted to go to school and pursue knowledge, and we believe the United States must respond quickly and definitively. In the face of the brazen nature of this horrific attack, the international community must impose further sanctions on this terrorist organization. Boko Harem is a threat to innocent civilian s in Nigeria, to regional security. and to U.S. national interests. The National Counter terrorism Center has found that Boko Haram has engaged in multiple attacks on Westerners and repeated ly targeted students at schools and universities, threatening the ability of young Nigerians , particularly women. to attend school. While we applaud the initial U.S. condemnation of the kidnapping, we believe there is much more that the United States government should do to make clear that such an attack will not be tolerated. We urge you to press for the addition of Boko Haram and Ansaru to the United Nation s Security Council’ s al-Qa’ida Sanctions List, the mechanism by which international sanctions are imposed on al-Qaida and al-Qa’ida- linked organizations. Their addition to the List would compel a greater number of countries to sanction Boko Haram, joining several countries, including the United States, which have already done so. The Department of State reported that Boko Haram has links to al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb when it designated the group as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. and General David Rodriguez, Commander of U.S. Africa Command, has described these link s before Congress.
Thank you for your attention to th is matter. We look forward to working together until girls and women worldwide can pursue an education without fear of violence or intimidation.

A copy of the signed letter is available here.

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