FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Matt Brown, [email protected], 202-468-2925
Michael Poffenberger, [email protected], 574-229-1301
WASHINGTON – The Obama administration needs to do more to end the humanitarian crisis created by the brutal Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in central Africa, a group of human rights organizations said in a new publication, “President Obama’s LRA Strategy Report Card.”
In their latest Report Card assessing the implementation of President Obama’s LRA strategy, the organizations said that incremental progress during the six months since the strategy’s release is not sufficient to address the rising LRA violence on the ground. The LRA has committed over 100 attacks on civilians so far this year, killing dozens of people and abducting nearly 200 more. The groups, including the Enough Project, Resolve and Invisible Children, gave the administration low marks for its efforts to end the violence and help affected communities survive and rebuild. These goals were part of President Obama’s LRA strategy which was released in November as mandated by the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act, the most widely-supported, Africa-specific piece of legislation in recent U.S. history.
The groups also assigned President Obama “homework” to improve his grades, calling on the administration to lead a diplomatic push to develop and fully resource a clear international strategy to apprehend LRA leader and indicted war criminal Joseph Kony and his senior leadership. The groups also said that the Administration should appoint a special envoy for Africa’s Great Lakes region with a mandate to work on the LRA issue.
“President Obama pledged that his administration would lead in eliminating the threat of the LRA,” said Enough's Executive Director John Bradshaw. “It is time the administration took robust steps to end one of the most brutal and deadly conflicts in Africa, in particular by leading efforts with governments in and outside the region to develop a more effective strategy to apprehend the group’s senior leadership.”
The U.S. should also work with the U.N. and international allies to protect civilians and facilitate the escape of combatants, including children who have been abducted and forced to fight, the rights organizations said.
“The U.S. has an opportunity to use its international clout to end this conflict that has been festering for more than 20 years,” said Michael Poffenberger Executive Director of Resolve. “Despite some positive steps from the Obama Administration so far this year, it’s clear that stopping LRA violence is not a priority at the White House.”