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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Kony - turn awareness into action

Amnesty International
Urge Obama to renew pressure on governments in Central Africa to end the recruitment and use of child soldiers.
A viral video exposing the horrors wrought by Joseph Kony and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) has triggered an avalanche of attention, bringing awareness to tens of millions of people in just a week's time. Now Amnesty needs your help to transform unprecedented public awareness into meaningful action.

For more than two decades, Amnesty International has documented the abuses committed by the Lord's Resistance Army and their horrific impact on the lives of countless civilians in Uganda, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and South Sudan.

The LRA's crimes are atrocious - mutilation, abduction, torture, rape, sexual slavery, pillaging, the conscription of children under the age of 15, and intentionally directing attacks against civilians.

The International Criminal Court indicted Kony and four other LRA leaders for war crimes and crimes against humanity in 2005. But despite persistent calls for his arrest from Amnesty and other human rights groups, Kony and other LRA indictees have remained at large for nearly seven years.

But Kony is just the tip of the iceberg in a region that has for decades been fraught with conflict and impunity. In the countries in which the LRA has operated since it was flushed out of Uganda - the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan - both government forces and other armed groups like the LRA have been responsible for decades of violence and abuses against civilians, including the abduction and forced recruitment of child soldiers, with little to no accountability. Further, the unregulated trade in small weapons and ammunition has ensured that guns and bullets are easy to obtain.

Last week, the Obama administration congratulated the organization behind the viral internet campaign targeted at Kony and reasserted its commitment to end the threat posed by the Lord's Resistance Army in Central Africa.1

But the White House must also pressure governments in the region by withholding military aid until they can demonstrate that they are taking concrete action to stop recruiting child soldiers, to demobilize or release children who are already part of government forces, and to bring those who recruit child soldiers to justice. Action is particularly crucial in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where children have died while carrying ammunition and supplies through the jungle for government forces.2

Call on President Obama to enforce legislation aimed at ending the recruitment and use of child soldiers today.

In solidarity,
Adotei Akwei
Director of Government Relations and International Advocacy
Amnesty International USA

P.S. - Join me tomorrow from 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. Eastern for a live discussion about the Lord's Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony and find out how you can help end abuses committed by armed groups and governments in Central Africa.

 No more Konys

Call on President Obama to enforce legislation aimed at ending the recruitment and use of child soldiers today.

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