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Rachel Frankel (center), mother of 16-year-old kidnap victim Naftali Frankel, accompanied by Iris Yifrach (right) and Bat-Galim Shaar (left), mothers of the two other teenaged kidnap victims, Eyal Yifrach and Gilad Shaar, today addressed the United Nations for the first time, on behalf of the human rights group UN Watch.
GENEVA, June 24, 2014 – Invited by Geneva-based human rights group UN Watch, Rachel Frankel, the mother of 16-year-old Israeli-American kidnap victim Naftali Frankel, who was one of three boys abducted on June 12th, addressed the United Nations Human Rights Council this morning to appeal for international support of the boys’ safe return. (See video of her speech. Transcript below).
Mrs. Frankel, together with Iris Yifrach and Bat-Galim Shaar, the mothers of the two other kidnapped teenagers, Eyal Yifrach and Gilad Shaar, met this morning with UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Flavia Pansieri.
All three mothers flew from Israel to Geneva to urge the 47-nation Council and the international community to do everything it can to help find the boys and bring them home safely. So far, the Council has been silent on the plight of the abducted teens.
UN Watch, which has been the most active NGO voice at this Council session on critical human rights issues, invited Mrs. Frankel to come to Geneva to use the NGO’s slot to address the Council.
“UN Watch condemns the kidnapping of the three boys, which the ICRC rightly described as a war crime, and calls for their immediate, unconditional and safe return,” said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer.
“This heinous act violates international humanitarian law, which prohibits targeting civilians and the taking of hostages. We are are in awe of Mrs. Frankel’s strength of spirit, and are grateful for the opportunity to offer her an international platform, together with the other two mothers, to appeal for the safe release of her son and the other two boys. We hope the international community will collectively heed her call.”
To request interviews with Rachel Frankel, Iris Yifrach, and Bat-Galim Shaar, please contact UN Watch: email@example.com
Transcript of Mrs. Frankel’s speech at the UN Human Rights Council
On behalf of UN Watch, my name is Rachel Frankel, and I live in Israel. I’ve come here today as a mother. Twelve days ago, my son Naftali, and two other teenage students, Eyal Yifrah and Gilad Shaer — whose mothers are sitting behind me — were kidnapped on their way home from school. Since then, we’ve heard nothing — no news, no sign of life.
With your permission, I’d like to tell you about the boys. My son Naftali is 16. He loves to play guitar and basketball. He’s a good student and a good boy — a combination of serious and fun. Eyal loves to play sports and cook. Gilad is an amateur pastry chef, and loves movies.
My son texted me — said he’s on his way home — and then he’s gone. Every mother’s nightmare is waiting and waiting endlessly for her child to come home.
We wish to express our profound gratitude for the waves of prayers, support and positive energy, pouring in from around the world.
Being in this assembly, I wish to thank the UN Secretary-General for condemning the abduction of our boys, expressing his solidarity with the families, and calling for their immediate release.
And I thank the International Red Cross for stating clearly that international humanitarian law prohibits the taking of hostages, and for demanding the immediate and unconditional release of our boys.
At the same time, I believe much more can be done — and should be done — by so many. That is why we three mothers have come here today — before the United Nations, and before the world — to ask everyone, to do whatever they can, to bring back our boys.
Mr. President, it is wrong to take children, innocent boys or girls, and use them as instruments of any struggle. It is cruel. This council is charged with protecting human rights. I wish to ask: Doesn’t every child have the right to come home safely from school?
We just want them back in our homes, in their beds. We just want to hug them again.
Thank you, Mr. President.