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A National Gathering of the Next Generation of Human Rights Defenders
This Mother’s Day as we celebrate the wonderful women we call “Mom,” take a moment to remember the mothers whose children have been taken from them by the Lord’s Resistance Army.
According to the 2011 State of the World’s Mothers Report, released this week by Save the Children, countries where the LRA operates rank among the very worst in which to be a mother: Sudan, CAR, and the Democratic Republic of Congo all fall within the bottom 10.
For almost 25 years the Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA, led by Joseph Kony, has terrorized civilians in central Africa, abducting children and adults to serve as soldiers and “wives” (sex slaves), mutilating its victims, killing, and looting. The LRA now operates with only an estimated 400 fighters, according to Enough field research from August 2010, but its ability to wreak havoc on civilian populations across central Africa has not diminished.
The practices of the LRA are particularly heinous viewed in light of how they affect relationships between mothers and their children. LRA fighters use kidnapping, sexual violence, and murder to tear apart families and communities. For years the LRA’s atrocities have left mothers without children and child soldiers without homes or families to return to.
In Congo, where Kony and the majority of his fighters currently operate, the LRA appears to be on a kidnapping spree; abductions have risen substantially since late last year, according to U.N. OCHA.
It is time to say enough to the cycle of violence that has gone on for so long. This Mother’s Day, please remember the victims of the LRA and sign the petition asking Congress to fund the White House strategy to end the threat of the Lord’s Resistance Army.
Photo: A mother in southern Sudan describes an LRA attack on her village (Enough/Laura Heaton)