Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), ranking member of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations, advocates for the U.S. government to boost its engagement in the Democratic Republic of Congo during President Obama's second term. Her op-ed originally appeared in Roll Call. Read More »
The Ugandan army, or UPDF, earlier this month had a major confrontation with the Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA. The location of the reported firefight is significant in that it could provide clues about where Kony is currently hiding. Read More »
After a month-long standoff, the Central African Republic government and a rebel alliance agreed upon a peace deal to end an uprising that threatened to spark a humanitarian crisis and un-seat President François Bozizé. “Failure to go further to discuss the reasons for the lack of implementation of previous agreements and to correct these may lead to another meltdown, a few years down the line again, as a result of lost expectations and frustrations,” warned U.N. special envoy to Central African Republic Margaret Vogt after the signing. Read More »
Often, our analysis of the fight to eliminate Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA, stops with the act of defection. However, as this video from the Grassroots Reconciliation Group vividly demonstrates, for former child soldiers, the struggle for normalcy continues well after escape from the LRA. Read More »
"The words of the government of Sudan representatives, promising further peace initiatives, are undermined by actions on the ground that show an ongoing commitment to crimes against civilians as a solution to the government's problems in Darfur," said ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to the U.N. Security Council last month.
Longtime Sudan specialist and Smith College professor Eric Reeves stresses the same conclusion, without having to conform to diplomatic pressures, in his extensive, recently released archive of state-sponsored violence across Sudan over the past five years. Read More »
Nearly six months on from the launch of a U.N. strategy aimed at ending 26 years of violence by the Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA, a joint report by a coalition of non-governmental organizations reveals today that the strategy has failed to make meaningful progress toward its core objectives. The report is released ahead of U.N. Security Council consultations on the LRA set for December 18th.
Tepid political commitment from regional governments, lack of urgency from the U.N., and an under-resourced African Union mission are the key causes of the failure.
“For too long, the people of the central Africa have suffered from unspeakable atrocities committed by the LRA. Their children have been abducted and murdered. Their families have been forced from their homes and their livelihoods destroyed. The UN has shown great leadership, and invested a great deal, in developing a strategy to support these populations and respond to the horrors of the LRA. It must not fall short now. There is too much at stake and too much to lose,” Ben Keesey, Chief Executive Officer of Invisible Children, said.
The report comes as violence is again escalating in the Democratic Republic of Congo and amid reports that the Sudanese government is harboring the LRA. Both of these developments could give the LRA the opportunity to reassert itself in the region. The evidence of ineffective U.N./African Union collaboration is also of concern in the light of a likely military intervention in Mali.
“This report is a wakeup call for the Security Council. Unless they reenergize the strategy and ensure that regional governments are effectively engaged then the whole process could fall apart. The Secretary General must publicly affirm his determination to see the UN Regional Strategy on the LRA implemented in full,” said Ernest Sugule, National Coordinator of Solidarité et Assistance intégrale aux Personnes Démunies (SAIPED), in the DRC.
The international community also has a critical role to play to support the UN and AU’s efforts.
“The UN, in partnership with the African Union and international donors, should vigorously lead the effort to end the LRA conflict. To deliver on the UN strategy will require more troops, access for the troops to LRA safe havens, enhanced intelligence, and improved efforts to promote defections. At this critical moment, the UN must rise to the challenge,” John Bradshaw, Executive Director of the Enough Project, said.
A joint report by the Enough Project and a coalition of non-governmental organizations seeks to assess progress made by UN actors against the benchmarks outlined in the UN Regional Strategy on the Lord's Resistance Army.
Ten thousand Invisible Children supporters descended in red t-shirts on the D.C. Convention Center earlier this month for the group’s largest event to date: MOVE:DC. While I walked 15 minutes from my apartment, there were attendees who had flown from Brazil and driven from California, all united in their commitment to ending the atrocities of the Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA, and apprehending now-infamous rebel leader Joseph Kony. Read More »
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, or OCHA, recently released their third quarter report on LRA activity in central Africa. These updated stats serve to illustrate the ongoing grave impact of the LRA in central Africa, in spite of their relatively small numbers and the fact that soldiers from several countries—including American military advisors—are pursuing them. Read More »