All blogs filed under Foreign Relations

Bring Back Our Girls

One month ago, Boko Haram abducted more than 200 girls in the middle of the night from their boarding school in northern Nigeria. This terrorist group committed this unconscionable crime against innocent young girls who are the future of their community and of their country. I am deeply concerned about this kidnapping and my thoughts and prayers are with the families of the abducted children.

Education is a right that all children should enjoy without the fear of being kidnapped by terrorists. However, these girls and their families understood the risk of getting an education in a society where so many are terrified of what an educated woman will mean. But they took this risk because they aspire to be teachers, lawyers, and doctors, and positively impact their society and the world. Countless studies and reports have shown that a society and its economy benefit exponentially when women are educated and actively participate. 

We cannot lose hope for the girls and families in Nigeria. It is crucial that we continue to raise the awareness on this tragic event and not allow their plight to fade. I joined many of my Senate colleagues in cosponsoring S.Res.433 which condemns the abduction of the students by Boko Haram. While a Senate resolution will not bring back our girls it is one action we can take to show our support for the students and their families.

It is crucial that the U.S. government continue to work to recover these girls and seek justice for this unthinkable horror. We must bring back our girls.

Developments in Syria

Last November, I called for a more assertive US approach to the conflict in Syria because it is in line with our national security interests and our humanitarian values.  Taking action now will certainly be more difficult than it was last year, but if the administration does decide to act in collaboration with our allies in Europe and the Middle East, it should act decisively to avoid further extending the conflict.  As part of any military response, the US should redouble its efforts to support the moderate opposition with training and equipment.  The US should also increase humanitarian support for Syrians inside the country as well as refugees in surrounding countries.  Addressing the crisis in Syria at this stage will be extremely difficult, but every day that Assad remains in power helps Iran and Hezbollah and threatens stability across the region.  Iran and terrorist organizations, like Hezbollah, are plotting against the United States and its allies every day.  I commend the Administration for confronting this difficult but critical challenge.  Assad has slaughtered more than 100,000 people and stoked sectarianism throughout the region.  He has crossed more than a red line and the United States must act in the interest of our national and global security.

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