Secretary Clinton discusses LRA on trip to Uganda
Last week, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton traveled to Uganda, where she met with President Museveni, as well as US advisers deployed in the field working to help regional governments track down Kony and other LRA leaders.
Before her trip, we joined with other civil society groups in urging her to press President Museveni to step up Uganda’s efforts to protect civilians from LRA attacks, especially by improving cooperation with neighboring countries. We also advocated that she ask Museveni to commit more troops and helicopters to counter-LRA operations and meet with US officials working in LRA-affected areas for advice on how the US can improve its own investments in the region.
We were encouraged that she spoke about the importance of strengthening the capacity of troops engaged in counter-LRA efforts. “We have to figure out how to work with all the countries where [Kony] and his criminal bands are perhaps hiding. We have to put our heads together to find out what additional equipment and support you need to lead this effort to rid the world of this terrible man and his criminal behavior,” she said. This demonstrates sustained US resolve to continue pursuing a solution to LRA atrocities, as opposed to downplaying expectations of success.
However, we were disappointed that Secretary Clinton made no major speeches nor took the opportunity to announce new initiatives focused on protecting people from LRA atrocities. Despite increased worldwide attention and commitments announced by world leaders to address the issue this year, progress on the ground in stopping LRA violence has been slow and LRA attacks have actually increased in the past six months, relative to the last half of 2011, as we examine in our latest Crisis Tracker report.
We hope that the Secretary’s words will translate into action, and that the coming weeks bring continued high-level engagement by US officials to finally putt an end to LRA violence.
Photo credit: US Department of State