In a press statement released over the weekend, the U.S. State Department expressed deep concern over the findings of the most recent investigation conducted by the U.N. Group of Experts for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or the Group. State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland acknowledged the severity of allegations in the report directly linking the Rwandan government to the sponsorship of rebel groups in eastern Congo, most notably the M23, and the exploitation of child soldiers. Read More »
Today, July 5, representatives from Sudan and South Sudan recommenced negotiations in Addis Ababa following a week-long break for high level political consultations in Khartoum and Juba. A new Enough field dispatch, “A Comprehensive Agreement for the Two Sudans: Is It Possible?,” reviews the conversations that occurred during the last round of negotiations on the definition of the administrative common borderline, the modalities for determining the final definition of the north-south border, and the recent pace of the negotiation process. Read More »
Human Rights Groups, African Civic Leaders Urge Uganda to Reinstate LRA Amnesty, Promote Accountability
WASHINGTON and GULU – On June 25, a coalition of 22 civil society organizations and leaders in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, and the United States issued a statement urging the Government of Uganda to reinstate amnesty and promote accountability for Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA, rebels. Since the enactment of the Act in 2000, more than 26,000 former Ugandan rebels have received amnesty, of which approximately 13,000 are former LRA rebels.
On May 23, the Ugandan Minister of Internal Affairs announced the lapse of a key provision of the country’s Amnesty Act. Part II of the Act, which provided for the granting of amnesty to former rebels, was allowed to expire while the rest of the Act was renewed for 12 months.
"There is a critical window now to finally end the 25 year-long LRA war, and a key step on the path to peace is to encourage LRA combatants to lay down their arms," said John Bradshaw, Enough Project Executive Director. "The Obama administration should urge the Ugandan government to refrain from prosecuting any LRA fighters not indicted by the International Criminal Court and consider granting them amnesty provided they go through a truth-telling transitional justice process."
More than 30,000 LRA combatants have been abducted as children and forced against their will to fight and commit horrific atrocities.
"We want the Amnesty Act in place until a comprehensive law is in place for the transitional justice system to work," said Kenneth Oketta, Prime Minister for Ker Kwaro Acholi, a northern Ugandan cultural organization. "Abductees are still in captivity."
Although the LRA is no longer in Uganda, the group has continued to perpetrate grave human rights violations against civilians and pose a threat to stability in the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, and the Central African Republic, or CAR.
"We have messages being aired in DRC, CAR and South Sudan where we are asking the rebels to take advantage of the Amnesty Act and come home," said Archbishop John Baptist Odama of the Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative. "Removing amnesty will completely undermine these efforts."
The communique also calls for the adoption of additional procedures to promote greater accountability and reconciliation. The Ugandan government is obligated to promote reconciliation within the nation under the Ugandan constitution, Part III of the Amnesty Act, and the peace agreement relating to accountability and reconciliation signed by the government and the LRA.
On June 28, the Africa Growth Initiative at Brookings invited a diverse array of prestigious activists and leaders from the U.S. and Africa, including Enough Project Co-founder John Prendergast, to discuss opportunities and obstacles for South Sudan as the country approaches its one-year anniversary of independence. While the panelists were cautiously optimistic about the progress Africa’s newest nation has made, many expressed concerns about South Sudan’s struggling economy and its remaining security challenges. Read More »
As anti-regime protests in Sudan enter their second week, the government is cracking down on activists and journalists. Security forces have used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse crowds and have detained hundreds of protesters since demonstrations began at the University of Khartoum on June 16. The most recent display of government force has been its systematic suppression of the media and recent reports of a shutdown of internet and cellphone access in Khartoum. Read More »
Negotiations between the governments of Sudan and South Sudan adjourned today after the Sudanese government requested time to return to Khartoum for high-level political consultations with President Omar al-Bashir and other key leadership. South Sudanese representatives also left Addis Ababa to hold similar consultations in Juba. The expectation is that the two sides will return to Addis Ababa on July 5 for three days of meetings, during which they will present readouts from their respective consultations. Read More »
Well before the United Nations Group of Experts released its interim report on the current situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on June 21, it had created a massive stir. Details of the investigation had been leaked, revealing that evidence had been found linking the Rwandan government to the infamous March 23 Movement, or M23. Read More »
Abdel Aziz, a Darfuri refugee and headmaster of the Obama School in Djabal refugee camp in eastern Chad, shares his Enough Moment. He believes that he was given the gift of education and is responsible for passing this gift on to the next generation. Read More »