• June 18, 2012
  • From the Team
  • 6

Delegation from LRA-affected region of DR Congo has arrived in DC

Sister Angelique_UNHCR photo

This weekend, two delegates from the Democratic Republic of Congo arrived in Washington, D.C., to kick off a three-week advocacy trip that will conclude with policy meetings in Europe. Father Benoit Kinalegu and Sister Angelique Namaika will be speaking on behalf of communities currently affected by LRA violence.

Resolve is pleased to facilitate their time in the United States. The delegates have a full schedule: on Tuesday, June 19 the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission is hosting a hearing on the “Continuing Human Rights Crisis in LRA-Affected Regions.” Father Benoit will appear on one of the panels together with Resolve’s Michael Poffenberger and The Enough Project’s John Prendergast.

On Wednesday, both delegates and Resolve’s Paul Ronan will speak on a panel hosted by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars entitled “Countering the Lord’s Resistance Army: A Civilian View from the Field.”

The following week, the delegates head to New York City for meetings at the United Nations when the Security Council will be convening. But more about that later.

Father Benoit and Sister Angelique continue to do remarkable work in LRA-affected areas of DR Congo, leading their communities’ efforts in civilian protection and rehabilitation. They can speak to the region’s needs with insight and experience. We are thrilled that they are here to tell our leaders, face-to-face, about the ongoing threat and we hope that their testimonies will strengthen the resolve of U.S. policymakers to provide new resources for the protection of civilians and the disarming of the LRA.

Again, we are so pleased to have the delegates here. Take a moment to read their full bios and check back for more blogs about their time in the United States and Europe.

-Azy

Abbe Benoit

Father Benoit Kinalegu

Father Benoit Kinalegu is a Congolese priest and the President of the Dungu-Doruma Diocesan Commission for Justice and Peace (CDJP). Based in the town of Dungu in Haut-Uele district, Democratic Republic of Congo, Father Kinalegu and the CDJP have played a leading role in documenting LRA rebel violence, mobilizing local civil society voices in both Congo and the broader LRA-affected region, and influencing the responses of the Congolese government and international community to the crisis.

The CDJP has produced its own first-hand accounts of human rights abuses committed by the LRA and has contributed directly to research by international human rights organizations. In addition, Father Kinalegu and the CDJP have helped mobilize local civil society groups from other LRA-affected countries to participate in regional peace-building activities. These efforts have allowed civil society leaders to share experiences of LRA violence, engage in cross-border dialogue on local community responses, and make recommendations to regional and international policymakers on how to end the conflict.

Father Kinalegu has been interviewed and quoted by the Economist, the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, the Guardian, Business Week, and the Institute for War and Peace Reporting among others.

Sister Angelique Namaika

Sister Angelique runs Dynamic Women for Peace (DWP), in Dungu, Democratic Republic of Congo. Since 2008, she has been helping young girls recover from the trauma of being abducted by the LRA. DWP promotes reintegration and reconciliation by encouraging communities to welcome the return of escapees. It also provides a wide range of vocational training programs and income-generation activities to promote their economic and social reintegration. Sister Angelique also oversees a micro-credit program that helps graduates of the vocational training courses start small businessesand runs basic literacy classes in the Lingala, the local language. .

Sister Angelique has been a prominent voice advocating for victims of LRA violence in DR Congo and across the region. She has worked in coalition with UNHCR and others and has been profiled on the UNHCR website.

Photo credits: M.Hofer for UNHCER // Pulitzer Center

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