KONY 2012 campaign seeks arrest of Joseph Kony, a war criminal responsible for abduction of more than 30,000 children; campaign video viewed by 10 million people in first 48 hours
WASHINGTON DC – Nonprofit Invisible Children, in partnership with the Enough Project and Resolve, launched a year-long campaign called KONY 2012 to advocate for the arrest of indicted war criminal Joseph Kony. After launching Monday afternoon, a short film at the heart of the campaign went viral on YouTube and Vimeo and has been a trending topic across social media sites Facebook and Twitter.
“Kony is arguably the world’s worst war criminal, but he’s now widely known outside of central Africa, where communities live in daily fear of attacks by his forces. This campaign will change that,” said Ben Keesey, CEO of Invisible Children. “Increased attention should be accompanied by increased action to stop Kony from attacking civilians.”
For 25 years, Kony has terrorized remote communities in Central Africa with an army comprised in large part of abducted child soldiers known as the Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA. Since it premiered on Monday afternoon, the KONY 2012 film has ignited worldwide attention, aided by celebrity boosters such as TV star Oprah, musicians Rihanna and Taylor Swift, and Hollywood actors such as Kristen Bell and Jason Bateman.
“People across America and around the world are tuning in to hear about a neglected human rights crisis. In a year of divisive partisan politics,” said Michael Poffenberger, Executive Director of Resolve, “this shows that pursuing Kony’s arrest is one thing we can still all agree on.”
In May 2010, Congress passed the bipartisan LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act with 271 cosponsors – more than any other Africa-focused bill in U.S. history. President Obama deployed approximately 100 U.S. military advisers to Central Africa in October 2011 to help stop the violence perpetrated by Kony and the LRA.
"With the deployment of U.S. advisors to Central Africa, there is a real chance to end the threat posed by the LRA," said John Prendergast, Co-Founder of the Enough Project. "To ensure mission success, there should be additional ingredients added to the mix, including additional capable forces, enhanced intelligence support, and more transport capacity to allow regional governments to act on that intelligence. Further, an improved defection strategy is needed to entice LRA commanders and fighters to leave the group. With these supplements, the mission the U.S. troops were sent for can succeed. This will only happen with greater political will sustained by this campaign and other efforts supporting the children of Central Africa."
Today, the campaign sponsors sent a letter to President Obama outlining steps the United States can take to see Kony arrested and help communities being affected by the LRA’s brutal attacks. The letter acknowledges that current U.S. efforts to address the crisis are producing “new hope for an end to the group’s atrocities,” but argues that more must be done, including heightened diplomacy with governments in the region, additional support for efforts to capture Kony, and investment in programs that help LRA abductees escape and return to their homes and families.
Activists who join the campaign will engage 20 of America’s most influential “culture-makers” and 12 of America’s most powerful policymakers in attempts to get them on the record in favor of Kony’s arrest. They will also attend rallies and meetings with their elected leaders to promote a Congressional resolution re-committing the United States to seek Kony’s arrest.