Obama officials report on year one of LRA strategy
One year ago – after acknowledging the “hundreds of thousands of Americans who have mobilized to respond to this unique crisis of conscience” – President Obama issued a landmark White House strategy to help stop atrocities being perpetrated by the Lord’s Resistance Army and support the communities in central Africa being targeted by the violence. Today, as required by law, his Administration released a formal report documenting what has been accomplished since.
You can read the five-page report in full here. Its contents include plenty of reason to be encouraged. As it says, “The United States remains committed to pursuing the multi-year, comprehensive strategy submitted to Congress last year.” It also underscores a number of key challenges – such as limited funding – that Resolve is dedicated to help address moving forward.
Some of the other highlights:
* As expected, the President’s recent announcement that he is deploying 100 advisers to help regional governments stop LRA atrocities plays prominently.
* The State Department is asking Congress to authorize payment of financial rewards to anyone who shares information that leads to the arrest of Joseph Kony and two other LRA commanders indicted by the International Criminal Court.
* The U.S. is funding the expansion of communications technology in LRA-affected areas to help provide early warning to communities at risk of attack and to help LRA abductees escape and return home; similar programs run by our friends at Invisible Children are notably commended.
* Since the LRA moved out of Uganda in 2006, U.S. investment has helped reduce the poverty rate there from over 60% to 46%, helping people overcome decades of violent conflict.
All in all, these are some amazing accomplishments. But more remains to be done. Yesterday, Resolve joined with partner groups to release the third LRA Strategy Report Card, providing our assessment of what President Obama has done in the past year, and highlighting the steps that need to be taken next.
Congress mandated both the White House strategy and today’s one-year implementation report in last year’s LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act, and the release of today’s report fulfills the final provision from that Act. But the fight to see it fully implemented will continue.