FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, March 21, 2012
CONTACT: Ian Koski (Coons) at 202-224-4216
Jared Young (Inhofe) at 202-224-4724
33 Senators introduce bipartisan resolution condemning Joseph Kony and the Lord's Resistance Army
Bipartisan resolution underscores support for U.S. and international efforts to help regional forces remove Joseph Kony and top LRA commanders from the battlefield
WASHINGTON – A bipartisan group of 33 senators introduced a resolution Wednesday condemning the crimes against humanity committed by Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), supporting ongoing international efforts to remove Kony from the battlefield, and calling for the U.S. to continue to enhance its mobility, intelligence and logistical support of regional forces now pursuing the LRA.
In addition to condemning Kony and the LRA for crimes against humanity, the resolution, which was led by U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.), and Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), does the following:
- Supports the efforts of Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of South Sudan, the Central African Republic, and other regional governments, as well as the African Union and United Nations, to end the threat posed by the LRA;
- Supports continued efforts by the United States to strengthen the capabilities of regional military forces deployed to protect civilians and pursue commanders of the LRA; as well as to enhance cooperation and cross-border efforts to increase civilian protection and provide assistance to populations affected by the LRA;
- Calls on the U.S. to utilize existing funds for ongoing programs to enhance mobility, intelligence, and logistical capabilities for partner forces engaged in efforts to protect civilians or remove Joseph Kony and his top commanders from the battlefield;
- Calls on the President to keep Congress fully informed of U.S. efforts and to work closely with Congress to identify and address critical gaps in efforts to counter the LRA.
“Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army have burned a path of destruction through Uganda and its neighbors in central Africa for the last 25 years,” Senator Coons said. “Joseph Kony represents the worst of mankind, and he and his commanders must be held accountable for their war crimes. Today, one-third of the United States Senate has joined me in condemning the LRA’s unconscionable crimes against humanity. The broad and bipartisan backing of this resolution demonstrates that we strongly support ongoing efforts to capture or kill Joseph Kony.” Senator Coons is chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs.
"For over 20 years, Joseph Kony and his LRA have been responsible for the displacement and murder of innocent children, women, and men in Uganda and throughout Africa,” Senator Inhofe said. “Having made over 120 country visits to the continent of Africa, I have long worked to end the LRA's activities. I am pleased to work with Senator Coons on this resolution that commends and encourages the ongoing work while condemning Kony and the LRA. In order to combat terror and prevent further devastation caused by the hands of Joseph Kony, it is imperative that he is found and the LRA is finally disarmed. Only then, will we be able to bring stability to Africa." Senator Inhofe is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs and a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
The LRA has forcibly recruited thousands of children to be used as soldiers and sex slaves, abducting an estimated 66,000 children in Uganda alone. Under increasing pressure inside Uganda and from the international community, Kony ordered the LRA in 2005 and 2006 to withdraw from Uganda and to move west into the border region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic and what would become South Sudan. Since September 2008, the LRA is estimated to have killed more than 2,400 people, abducting more than 3,400, and displacing upwards of 460,000 innocent civilians in South Sudan, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In May 2010, Congress passed and President Obama signed into law the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act of 2009, which made it U.S. policy to:
- Work with regional governments toward a lasting resolution to the conflict in affected areas by providing political, economic, military, and intelligence support for viable multilateral efforts to protect civilians from the LRA;
- Remove Joseph Kony and his top commanders from the battlefield; and
- Demobilize the remaining Lord’s Resistance Army fighters, among other provisions.
On October 14, 2011, the President notified Congress that he had authorized approximately 100 combat-equipped U.S. forces to deploy to central Africa to provide assistance to regional forces that are working toward the removal of Joseph Kony and senior LRA commanders from the battlefield.
In addition to Senators Coons and Inhofe, the resolution was cosponsored by Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Pat Leahy (D-Vt.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), Carl Levin (D-Mich.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Dan Coats (R-Ind.), Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Jeff Merkley, (D-Ore.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), and Ben Cardin (D-Md.).
UPDATE: Additional original cosponsors added after this news release was issued include Senators John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.).
The full text of the resolution can be downloaded here: