The global movement to bring Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army to justice has reached the halls of the Congress.
More than a dozen members of the U.S. House of Representatives have joined together to introduce a bipartisan resolution condemning Kony and the LRA for continuing to perpetrate crimes against humanity. A similar measure is being considered in the Senate, endorsing current U.S. efforts to support members of the African Union Regional Task Force in hunting down Kony’s guerilla army. It also pledges continued congressional support for U.S. military advisers working with those nations in the region.
On August 10th, lawmakers were briefed on efforts to track down and eliminate the LRA, and heard testimony from non-governmental organizations that have been working to raise public awareness and assure accountability for atrocities committed by the group.
Kony was indicted in 2005 by the International Criminal Court in The Hague, but has evaded capture ever since. For more than two decades, his small, ruthless armed band has terrorized large areas of Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan and Central African Republic, forcing some 465,000 people to flee their homes.
Uganda, where the group originated, and its neighboring countries have struggled for years to counter the LRA. With the support of the African Union, the United Nations, the United States and other international partners, efforts to end the group’s depredations against civilians have seriously weakened, but have not yet completely eliminated, the group.
The congressional action shows once again that our country stands with the governments and the people of central Africa in their efforts to neutralize the LRA. We call on LRA fighters to put down their arms, leave the organization’s ranks and come home. We will continue to work with the governments in the region to ensure that low-level fighters and abductees who escape from the LRA are able to reunite with their families and reintegrate into normal society.