President Obama signed legislation into law yesterday that will expand the scope of the Rewards for Justice Program. On hand at the Oval Office signing ceremony were representatives from human rights organizations who have been important supporters in this effort and work on these issues every day, including Enough Project Executive Director John C. Bradshaw and our partners from Invisible Children, Resolve, and Humanity United.
Today, January 15, Enough Project Executive Director John Bradshaw and other human rights leaders attended an Oval Office ceremony at which President Obama signed legislation into law, expanding the State Department's Rewards for Justice Program.
"By signing this bill in the presence of leaders of the human rights community, the President has demonstrated his continuing personal commitment to bringing Joesph Kony and other internationally-wanted human rights abusers to justice," said Bradshaw. "This law is also an important step by the U.S. towards a more positive relationship with the International Criminal Court."
Signing ceremony in the Oval Office (White House)
The Rewards for Justice Program has been critical to bringing to justice individuals wanted by specific courts for committing the most serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. The expanded program will allow the U.S. government to provide financial rewards for information resulting in the arrest or conviction of individuals sought by any international criminal tribunal for perpetrating genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.
The Enough Project is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, Enough focuses on the crises in Sudan, South Sudan, eastern Congo, and areas affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Enough conducts intensive field research, develops practical policies to address these crises, and shares sensible tools to empower citizens and groups working for change. To learn more about Enough, go to www.enoughproject.org.
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 »
Amid faltering efforts to end the violence caused by the Lord's Resistance Army, or LRA, the United Nations Security Council met last month to discuss the LRA issue. The meeting referenced many of the critical issues stymieing current efforts, and some specific plans were agreed to. Read More »
Congress has passed legislation to expand a critical initiative that would bolster efforts to arrest and bring justice to individuals wanted for committing acts of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. Read More »
Today, the Enough Project joined a coalition of organizations from central Africa, the U.S., and Europe in releasing a report that assesses the implementation of the U.N. Regional Strategy developed in June to address the Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA, threat. Nearly six months later, progress to date in implementing the strategy has been minimal, and no clear plans to address the myriad challenges facing the strategy appear to be underway. 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.