Human Rights Watch recently awarded Abbé Benoit Kinalegu with the Alison Des Forges Award “for his commitment to protecting civilians and ending the threat posed by the LRA.”
On August 18th, the community of Dungu and Human Rights Watch recognized his advocacy work on behalf of vulnerable populations affected by the LRA. Several community members and representatives from the office of MONUSCO, Invisible Children, the Dungu-Doruma Diocese, and the Commission Diocésaine Justice et Paix (CDJP) gave speeches commending his efforts. Here is a translated excerpt from Abbé Benoit’s speech:
“For me, the Alison Des Forges Prize finds me in mid-journey and I consider it a prize of continued engagement because the struggle for the well being of the population in this region is still long and difficult to predict. I will only be completely satisfied once Joseph Kony is captured and brought before the International Criminal Court, and that the other commanders, for whom international arrest warrants have been issued, will also answer for their actions before the law.”
A priest and director of the CDJP, Abbé Benoît has done an immense amount of work to assist LRA-affected communities.
Invisible Children partnered with Benoît in establishing the Early Warning HF Radio Network, as well as Centre Elikya, the very first rehabilitation center in DR Congo focused on LRA-affected youth. And in June, he testified in front of the U.S. Congress on LRA atrocities, urging the international community to bring LRA commanders to justice.
He will be traveling to the United States in November to receive the award.