- September 29, 2010
- From the Team
Since President Obama signed the LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act into law on May 24, his Africa team has been hard at work developing a strategy to guide the U.S. in helping to put a stop to LRA atrocities. With just 52 days remaining until the strategy is due, we’re waiting for its release with the hope that it is truly capable of achieving an end to the conflict.
To shed further light on the current situation and the specific steps the Administration should adopt for a comprehensive and effective strategy, today we published our own outline for what the strategy should look like, “From Promise to Peace: A Blueprint for President Obama’s LRA Strategy.” The report is based on firsthand interviews I did earlier this year with people affected by the LRA in Congo, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, and Uganda, as well as consultations we’ve done with a broad range of regional and international experts, policymakers, and civil society leaders.
The report outlines an extensive set of recommendations for President Obama’s strategy, as well as firsthand reporting on LRA violence and its impact on communities in the region. You can download the entire report here, which includes a cliffnotes version in the Executive Summary and Recommendations.
Here’s the jist of it: President Obama should use the groundswell of momentum generated by grassroots activists and Congress to dedicate unprecedented political will and resources to forging a multilateral strategy that addresses the impacts of ongoing LRA violence, while preventing further atrocities against innocent civilians.
The devil, of course, is in the details. To be comprehensive, the strategy must include greater efforts to mitigate the effects of LRA atrocities by better protecting civilians, encouraging the escape and return home of members of the LRA, and providing increased humanitarian assistance to communities across central Africa disrupted by the violence.
However, for Obama’s strategy to have a chance at permanently stopping LRA atrocities, it also must have a decisive impact on the conflict. LRA atrocities won’t stop until Joseph Kony and senior LRA commanders are no longer ordering new campaigns of violence against civilians, and with the prospects for a negotiated solution remote, President Obama must lead renewed regional and international efforts to apprehend Kony and his senior commanders.
The challenge has never been more urgent. Since late 2008, the LRA has embarked on one of the most devastating waves of violence in its history, killing more than 2,000 people, abducting over 2,500, and displacing upwards of 380,000 in remote areas across central Africa. Not a week goes by without reports of further attacks on communities—civilians brutally murdered, children abducted, families uprooted, and an entire region destabilized. Yet the international community remains largely silent.
Communities being targeted by the LRA have urged their governments and the international community to take greater responsibility for ending the threat of LRA violence. But, as one South Sudanese schoolteacher told me earlier this year, thus far “it looks as if Kony is defeating the world.”
With the help of this strategy, it’s up to the U.S. and the international community to prove him wrong.