- August 9, 2012
- From the Team
Members of the US Senate continue to press for action to see LRA atrocities ended. Last week, a Senate resolution that shared the goals of the KONY 2012 campaign passed unanimously, with 47 Senators adding their names as official cosponsors.
In a press release, Senator Chris Coons (D-DE), the lead sponsor of the resolution and Chair of the Africa Subcommittee, commented, “Kony and the LRA have terrorized Uganda and its neighbors in central Africa for more than two decades, tearing families apart and destroying communities… I applaud my colleagues for unanimously passing this bipartisan resolution condemning the crimes committed by the LRA and supporting ongoing regional efforts to bring Kony and top LRA commanders to justice once and for all.”
The lead Republican sponsor, Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK), added, “This resolution reinforces my important legislation that we passed in 2011 called the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act… Bringing Kony and the LRA to an end will remove a major destabilizing force while providing better security for the people of Africa.”
The resolution expresses the unanimous approval of Senators of steps that the U.S. is currently taking to help bring LRA leader Joseph Kony to justice and permanently end the group’s atrocities, including the deployment of U.S. advisers to central Africa. It outlines further steps that need to be taken, including heightened diplomacy in the region, new funds to construct roads and communications infrastructure in LRA-affected areas, and expanded support to ongoing efforts by regional militaries to pursue LRA commanders and protect civilians.
Elsewhere this past week, the Senate subcommittee that establishes the defense budget also approved new funds to expand U.S. programs that help detect the locations of LRA groups, information which is shared with regional governments. Resolve previously joined partner groups in calling for the allocation of such funds, which surveillance efforts that are helping track down Joseph Kony and other LRA commanders and preventing attacks on civilians.
A press release from Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI), the Chair of the Senate Defense Appropriations subcommittee, notes that the Senate’s version of the 2013 defense budget includes “$50 million, as authorized, for increased [intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance] in support of counter-Lord’s Resistance Army operations in Central Africa.” The funds were included with support from the top Republican on the committee, Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS), as well as leaders on the Armed Services committee, including Senators Carl Levin (D-MI), John McCain (R-AZ), and Jim Inhofe (R-OK).
As we have reported, if these funds are included in the final 2013 budget that passes both the Senate and House of Representatives, it would roughly double current funding for U.S. programs that detect LRA locations through aerial surveillance.
Photo credit: Office of Senator Coons