Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Anti-Joseph Kony resolution introduced in House
Thanks, in part, to the viral sensation video “Kony 12” created by Invisible Children, Inc., Ugandan war criminal Joseph Kony is back in the news. The 30-minute video, the contents and spirit of which has been subject to debate, aims to draw awareness to Kony’s offenses and has been watched nearly 100 million times on either YouTube or Vimeo.

It must be working, as Reps. Jim McGovern and Ed Royce introduced on Tuesday a resolution “spotlighting the atrocities of Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army and supporting U.S. efforts to counter the LRA,” according to a release.
“There is increased attention on the terror inflicted upon innocent people by the LRA – and that’s a good thing. I am hopeful that we can use this momentum as a force for change,” said McGovern, who co-chairs the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission. “We must do all that we can to protect innocent civilians — especially children — and end LRA violence once and for all. We made important strides with our legislation in the last Congress, but our work must continue.”

“Last week, an unprecedented Internet campaign brought the attention of tens of millions of Americans to the atrocities the LRA is committing,” said Royce, a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “This resolution builds on past legislation and the current campaign by giving an added focus to these atrocities on children and efforts to stop them.”
Royce and McGovern have long been on Kony’s case, having introduced the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act in the House last Congress. The legislation, which was enacted into law, made it U.S. policy “to apprehend or remove Joseph Kony and his top commanders from the battlefield.”

Among other things, the new resolution, H.Res. 583, “condemns the LRA’s atrocities and welcomes the steps taken to date” and “calls for stepped-up efforts to expand the number of regional forces deployed to protect civilians and pursue LRA commanders, while increasing cross-border coordination among regional governments.”
The resolution comes a day after remarks made by Sen. Patrick Leahy at Champlain College.

“No one should be so naïve as to think that a 30-minute video, or even capturing Joseph Kony and disarming the LRA, will end the violence in central Africa. It will not. There are many factors that contributed to the LRA, the genocide in Rwanda, the mass rapes and killings in the Congo, and human rights violations by government forces in those countries.But neither should we watch idly as these crimes occur, just because they are half a world away.We can all work to help victims of war rebuild their lives, we can all work to bring the perpetrators of atrocities to justice, we can all work to help make the world a better place.”

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