Readers know that the Obama administration’s strategy to confront the Lord’s Resistance Army talks about ensuring that the “LRA receives no support or safe-haven.” But how to do that?
Today, Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA) and I introduced legislation to ensure the LRA’s outside support is drained. With your help, the two of us led last year’s strategy effort successfully through the House.
The bill we introduced is called the “Sudan Cessation of Support for the Lord’s Resistance Army Certification Act of 2011.” A mouthful, I know. It is H.R. 895.
The legislation requires the administration to certify to Congress that the Sudanese government is “no longer engaged in training, harboring, supplying, financing, or supporting in any way the Lord’s Resistance Army, its leader Joseph Kony, or his top commanders” before Sudan could be removed from the State Department's state sponsor of terrorism list.
Remember, Sudan has been the only documented state-supporter of the LRA, backing it with arms and supplies for a decade. According to a U.N. report released a few months ago, LRA commanders recently reached out to Sudan’s military in Darfur for support, literally exchanging phone numbers. And former LRA abductees testify that Kony himself said he wanted to reestablish ties with Sudan’s government.
I’ve raised these concerns with the administration several times, most recently in January. They say Sudan won’t come off the list if it's still working with the LRA. This legislation is our way to keep their feet to the fire, and make sure its “no support or safe-haven” strategy is implemented.
I raised Kony and the LRA at a public hearing with Secretary of State Clinton earlier this week. I need you to raise H.R. 895 with your member of Congress, asking them to cosponsor this important bill.
Time is of the essence. The Obama administration has started the process to take Sudan off the terrorism list as part of that country's peace process. Let’s ensure that Sudan's links with the LRA are truly history. And together, let’s stop Joseph Kony!
Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) is a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.