NOVEMBER 28, 2009: U.S Senator Sponsors LRA Legislation

U.S Senator Sponsors LRA Legislation

SOURCE: New Vision

Kampala — US Senator Russ Feingold's statement - Senate committee passes Feingold Bill requiring new strategy to confront the Lord's Resistance Army rebellion in Northern Uganda.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed bipartisan legislation today authored by US Senator Russ Feingold and co-sponsored by Sam Brownback, requiring the Obama administration to develop a new multifaceted strategy to confront one of Africa's longest running rebel groups, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA).

For more than two decades, under the leadership of Joseph Kony, the LRA has kidnapped more than 66,000 children and forced them to fight as child soldiers, wreaking havoc in northern Uganda and Southern Sudan, and more recently, northeastern Congo and Central African Republic. Feingold's bipartisan Lord's Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act requires the United States to work with multilateral partners to develop a viable path to disarm the LRA, while ensuring the protection of civilians.
"For too long, Joseph Kony and the Lord's Resistance Army have terrorised innocent civilians across four countries of central Africa, kidnapping thousands of children and forcing them to become child soldiers and commit horrific acts," said Feingold, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs, who visited Uganda in 2007. "My Bill will commit the United States to develop a proactive strategy to work with regional governments to stop the LRA, while better targeting our assistance to address the conditions in northern Uganda that enabled the LRA to emerge in the first place. I will work with my colleagues to move this important piece of legislation through the Senate."

"The LRA's 30-year campaign of violence has scarred communities across central Africa, who have in turn been let down by their governments, the UN and the international donor community," said Jon Elliott, Africa Advocacy Director at Human Rights Watch. "This Bill offers an opportunity to put civilian protection where it should be, at the top of the agenda, and much-needed American leadership to finally bring Joseph Kony and his co-accused to justice. And it will hopefully ensure that victims receive the support and redress they need to rebuild their lives."

Feingold's Bill authorises $10m in additional funding for humanitarian assistance for those areas outside of Uganda now directly affected by the LRA's brutality. In this year alone, the UN reports that the LRA has killed more than 1,500 people, abducted over 1,800 and displaced hundreds of thousands of people in the Central African Republic, Congo and Southern Sudan. Feingold's Bill also authorises $30m over three years for transitional justice and reconciliation to help the Ugandan government to address the grievances and regional divisions that the LRA exploited for nearly two decades...
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