WASHINGTON D.C. –U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) joined over thirty of his colleagues in support of a bipartisan resolution condemning the crimes against humanity committed by Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and underscoring support for U.S. and international efforts to help regional forces remove Kony and his top LRA commanders from the battlefield.
“I’ve had the opportunity to travel to the northern Uganda where at the time, the LRA was actively terrorizing villagers, abducting kids to serve as child soldiers and sending them back to their village to murder and mutilate their families and neighbors. I’ve met some survivors of Kony’s atrocities and while the crimes against humanity he ordered seem unimaginable, they are very real,” Boozman said. “While the ability of the LRA to carry out attacks has been dramatically reduced, and they have been chased out of Uganda, it is imperative for the security of the region, and the protection of basic human rights, that we capture Kony and end the LRA’s atrocities that continue throughout the region.”
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.
“When I served in the House of Representatives, I voted to pass the law aimed at bringing Kony to justice and ending violence perpetrated by the LRA. This law is what allowed President Obama to deploy 100 U.S. military advisors to LRA affected areas—a move that I support. The resolution we introduced today reinforces the importance of that mission and offers our continued support,” Boozman said.
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.
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 technical assistance to regional forces that are working toward the removal of Joseph Kony and senior LRA commanders from the battlefield.
The resolution is also 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-HI), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), 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.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.).