Bennet: We Need to Do More to End the Ongoing Bloodshed in Central Africa
Washington, DC – Michael Bennet, U.S. Senator for Colorado, released the following statement applauding President Obama’s signing of a bill into law that requires a U.S. strategy to confront the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) while protecting civilians. Bennet is a cosponsor of the bipartisan bill.
“It’s about time the United States commits to ending the horrific atrocities and human rights violations by the LRA in Uganda and neighboring countries,” said Bennet. “The amount of support this bill received from members of both parties is a testament to how important it is for us to protect children from being killed or captured and forced to fight for Joseph Kony. We need to act now to protect innocent children in central Africa and provide humanitarian support for the communities affected by these horrors.”
The LRA is responsible for countless atrocities in Uganda and neighboring countries. The LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act requires the Obama administration to develop a new multifaceted, interagency strategy to assist regional governments in disarming the LRA, while ensuring the protection of civilians. This new law also calls for increased humanitarian assistance for communities throughout the region now affected by the LRA’s brutality and authorizes U.S. assistance for transitional justice and reconciliation efforts in Uganda.
The Lord’s Resistance Army, led by Joseph Kony, has been wreaking havoc on northern Uganda and neighboring countries for more than two decades. The violent rebel group has contributed to the displacement of nearly 2 million people and the abduction of tens of thousands of children. Throughout the conflict, the LRA has actively targeted the civilian population of northern Uganda. It has pressed young children to fill its ranks, creating an army of child soldiers, and forced others into sexual slavery.
This legislation, which has been cosponsored by 201 members of the House of Representatives and 65 members of the Senate, is the most widely cosponsored Africa-specific bill in recent U.S. history.