- June 11, 2012
- Advocates in Action
Last month, Evelyn Apoko, a former LRA abductee who is currently living in the United States as part of the Strongheart Fellows program, wrote a personal letter to leaders in Congress asking that a resolution on the LRA now before Congress be amended. She specifically requested that Members of Congress add a provision to the resolution calling for increased precautions to be taken to avoid endangering children within the LRA during military operations.
On Thursday, when the House Committee on Foreign Affairs voted to pass the resolution, they also accepted Evelyn’s suggestion and adopted her amendment. In her letter, Evelyn shared from her own personal experience:
One day when I was still with [the LRA], I was with a group of other abducted children when we heard the loud noise of helicopters and then explosions as bombs dropped all around us. It was the Ugandan Army, trying to kill the rebels. After the bombing, children lay all around me, dead and dying. Two little children that I was helping care for died, along with their young mother and many others. Sadly, it was the children who were killed, while the commanders all escaped[…]
I do believe that Kony – and all like him – must be stopped. I want him to face consequences for his actions, for the many many lives he has destroyed… However, I do have one very important request as you consider what you will collectively do on behalf of the children of Africa: I ask that you keep the faces of the abducted children in your hearts, not the face of Joseph Kony[…]
My main concern is these children don’t have any way to get out at the moment, and they will suffer when the military attacks Kony. The bomb that almost took my life was an air bomb attack meant for the LRA. It’s a thin line between the lives of the children and the life of Joseph Kony.
We were grateful for the chance to help Evelyn deliver her letter to Members of Congress, and celebrate this success with her. As a result of Evelyn’s advocacy, the text of the resolution now includes a provision calling on the U.S. to help regional governments “incorporate precautions to protect abductees within LRA ranks, especially children and women, when carrying out operations against the LRA.”
We thank Representatives McGovern (D-MA), Royce (R-CA), and Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) for their leadership in adopting this important amendment. Soon, the Senate will take up their version of the resolution, and we’ll be asking them to do the same.