The Enough Project released a report card today, along with partner organizations Resolve, Invisible Children, and Citizens for Global Solutions, grading President Obama’s strategy to eliminate the already two decades-long threat posed by the Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA, throughout Central Africa. The president developed the strategy and submitted it to Congress last November as mandated by the bipartisan LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act of 2009, the most widely supported Africa-specific legislation in recent congressional history.
The strategy requires the U.S. government to: increase civilian protection; apprehend or remove from the battlefield LRA leader Joseph Kony and senior commanders; promote the defection, disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration of LRA fighters; and increase humanitarian access and provide continued relief to affected communities.
This first report card grades the content and initial rollout of President Obama’s LRA strategy on five key elements: 1) expanding U.S. engagement; 2) protecting civilians; 3) stopping senior LRA commanders; 4) facilitating the escape of LRA fighters; and 5) helping communities survive and rebuild. Future report cards will assess the strategy’s implementation and impact on the ground.
We also wrote a letter to President Obama and senior administration officials explaining the benchmarks we used to grade the strategy and called for full and immediate implementation of the strategy.
Since September 2008, the LRA has killed at least 2,300 people and abducted more than 3,000, including many children who were forced to become soldiers or sexual slaves. Another 400,000 civilians have fled LRA attacks in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, and the Central African Republic, since September 2008. In 2010 alone, LRA rebels committed more than 240 deadly attacks. The International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants for Joseph Kony and several senior LRA commanders.
The LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act of 2009 was co-sponsored by a bipartisan group of 65 senators and 201 representatives, representing 49 states. Tens of thousands of Americans, including many young activists, mobilized to support the legislation.
Read the report card and accompanying guide here, and stay tuned for future report cards in the coming months.