H.Res. 617, Condemning the abduction of female students by armed militants from the terrorist group known as Boko Haram in northeastern provinces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria

H.Res. 617

Condemning the abduction of female students by armed militants from the terrorist group known as Boko Haram in northeastern provinces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria

Sponsor
Rep. Frederica Wilson

Date
June 12, 2014 (113th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On June 12, 2014, the House will consider H.Res. 617, Condemning the abduction of female students by armed militants from the terrorist group known as Boko Haram in northeastern provinces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.  H.Res. 617 was introduced on June 10, 2014 by Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL) and was referred to the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Bill Summary

H.Res. 617 expresses support for the families of the more than 200 girls recently abducted by Boko Haram and calls for their immediate, safe return. The resolution condemns Boko Haram for its many violent attacks on civilians and encourages Nigeria’s government to increase efforts to protect children seeking to obtain an education.  H.Res. 617 expresses support for current U.S. assistance in searching for the girls and encourages Nigeria to work with the U.S. and other countries to resolve the crisis.  The resolution recognizes the right of every individual, regardless of sex, to pursue an education without fear of discrimination.  H.Res. 617 encourages the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development to continue their support for initiatives that promote the human rights of women and girls in Nigeria.  This non-binding resolution urges the President to strengthen U.S. cooperation with Nigerian forces, including offering U.S. personnel to support efforts to locate and rescue the abducted girls, and to support Nigeria’s efforts to counter Boko Haram. The resolution calls on the President to provide Congress a comprehensive strategy to counter the growing threat posed by radical Islamist terrorist groups in West Africa, the Sahel, and North Africa.

Background

On April 14, 2014, Boko Haram abducted 276 young girls from a boarding school in the northeastern province of Borno in Nigeria.[1] The armed militants overtook the soldiers and police guarding the building, forcing the girls into trucks.[2]  Reports indicate that the girls have been sold as brides to Islamist militants for the equivalent of $12 each.[3]   Beyond the recent abduction, Boko Haram has killed more than 500 students and 100 teachers, and has destroyed roughly 500 schools in northern Nigeria, leaving thousands without access to education.[4]  On May 5, 2014, suspected Boko Haram gunmen kidnapped an additional eight girls in northeast Nigeria; and on May 7, 2014, Boko Haram killed at least 336 people.  The group kidnapped an additional twenty women on June 5, 2014.

The State Department designated Boko Haram as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in November 2013, due to its large-scale attacks against civilians, including women and children.[5]  The name “Boko Haram” loosely translates to “Western education is a sin,” and the group seeks to prevent the education of girls.[6]  The group has also targeted “schools, mosques, churches, villages, and agricultural centers, as well as government facilities, in an armed campaign to create an Islamic state in northern Nigeria, prompting the President of Nigeria to declare a state of emergency in three of the country’s northeastern states in May 2013.”[7]  Boko Haram is one of a number of radical Islamist terrorist organizations and extremist groups that pose a growing threat to United States’ interests in the region.  Nongovernmental organizations estimate that approximately 4,000 people have been killed in Boko Haram attacks since 2011.[8]

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[1] H.Res. 617.
[2] Id.
[3] Id.
[4] Id.
[5] Id.
[6] Id.
[7] Id.
[8] Id.

Cost

A cost estimate is not available at this time.

Additional Information

For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.