The conflict in Central Africa is a complex one and requires a multifaceted strategy. Invisible Children’s advocacy is informed by our work in LRA-affected areas alongside local leaders in those communities, and is conducted in partnership with Washington, DC-based organizations Resolve and the Enough Project. We also encourage you to go here and do more research on the conflict and the Lord’s Resistance Army.
KONY 2012 & Cover the Night: What We’re Asking For
The aim of the KONY 2012 campaign is to make Joseph Kony famous so that world leaders will act to bring him and his top commanders to justice and see an end to the violence of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Starting with Cover the Night on April 20th, we are turning awareness into action by supporting a new international effort that has concrete action steps.
Propelled by KONY 2012 and your voices, international leaders – led by the United Nations and African Union – have announced an ambitious new plan to arrest Joseph Kony, protect civilians, and restore communities affected by the LRA. This new plan provides the best opportunity to mobilize world leaders and see an end to the LRA’s atrocities, but it will only work if our governments see it through—starting by publicly declaring their support for it and next providing the resources it needs to succeed where past efforts have failed.
What We’re Asking For
The United Nations Security Council is meeting this June. Invisible Children will be there to deliver the KONY 2012 pledge – signed by millions of supporters around the world – to key world leaders to secure their commitments. Fueled by your voices, we will ask them to do the three things most needed to bring Kony to justice this year:
1. Expand communications networks and other protection programs that warn communities of LRA threats and provide opportunities for LRA abductees to escape and return safely to their families.
Joseph Kony and the LRA purposefully targets communities in some of the remotest parts of central Africa so that information about LRA activities rarely reaches the outside world and LRA abductees have few chances to escape. Funding is needed to expand cost-effective technologies and programs that can help solve these problems. We need world leaders to:
- Support community-run FM stations that broadcast “come home” messages to LRA fighters and abductees in the bush and sensitize local communities on how to protect LRA escapees. This tool has been the most effective nonviolent way to help LRA abductees escape, but it doesn’t exist in many of the areas where the LRA now operates.
- Expand mobile phone coverage and High Frequency (HF) radio networks, which are used by local community leaders to communicate about LRA movements and alert neighbors when the risk of attack is highest. The existing network serves only a small fraction of vulnerable communities.
- Fund programs that help rehabilitate children and adults who escape from the LRA and educate their communities about how to welcome them home. Rehabilitation centers have begun operating in Democratic Republic of Congo (Congo) and South Sudan, but none exists in Central African Republic (CAR).
- Task the African Union with coordinating regional efforts to contact LRA commanders and fighters and convince them to negotiate peaceful disarmament.
2. Provide the African Union effort with the logistical support needed to arrest Joseph Kony and his top commanders and protect civilians.
Past military efforts by governments in central Africa to address LRA violence have lacked the tools needed to arrest senior LRA commanders or protect civilians vulnerable to LRA attacks. Given the vast and remote territory in which the LRA operates, it is not possible to ensure effective forces are deployed everywhere they are needed, but much more can be done to provide meaningful protection. That means:
- Provide human rights and protection training to African Union forces and hold them accountable to improving their efforts to protect civilians.
- Provide the African Union operation with mobility assets so that they can react quickly to reports of LRA attacks or information about the whereabouts of Kony and other top commanders.
- Rehabilitate key roads to help African Union forces provide protection to remote communities and ensure humanitarian relief can reach people most in need.
- Ensure United Nations peacekeepers deployed to the region are proactively responding to reports of LRA attacks, especially in Congo.
- Invest in new tools to gather and share information on the location of LRA commanders to forewarn civilians of impending danger and help military forces to locate and arrest them.
- Help the African Union forces develop and implement procedures to protect the rights of and care appropriately for children and adults who escape from the LRA.
3. Engage directly with African governments to ensure Kony and his LRA forces cannot exploit remote areas or political discord to find safe haven anywhere in the region.
Right now, many of Kony’s forces are evading the militaries pursuing them by hiding out in areas that are difficult – or impossible – for military forces that are part of the African Union effort to access. Most recently, this includes some parts of northern Congo (where the Congolese government recently asked Ugandan forces to leave, but is not stepping up its own efforts to stop LRA violence) and likely areas in the Darfur region of Sudan. Through concerted diplomacy, world leaders must ensure regional governments recognize the threat the LRA poses to innocent civilians, fully cooperate with the African Union-led effort to bring Kony to justice, and ensure the LRA cannot find safe haven anywhere in the region.
Who We’re Asking
During the week of Cover the Night, activists around the world will write to their own government leaders, asking them to declaring their support for the new plan to stop Kony and restore communities affected by the LRA. After April 20th, we will deliver the KONY 2012 petition to key world leaders and ask them to commit to fill the three specific needs. Our first targets include US President Barack Obama, UK Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and EU High Representative Catherine Ashton.
Then, we will hold a culminating event at the United Nations in June, when world leaders are meeting to discuss how to put into action the new international plan to arrest Joseph Kony and stop LRA violence.We will hand off the millions of KONY 2012 pledge signatures from citizens around the world, and ask the UN and assembled leaders to make 2012 the year that Kony is finally brought to justice and LRA violence ended.