From Promise to Peace Blog Posts
In a major victory for Resolve’s S2F campaign, the Senate Armed Services Committee passed its version of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act today — essentially the budget for the U.S. defense community — and included an unprecedented provision aimed at helping stop LRA atrocities. According to a release on the Committee website, the amendment — put forward by Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK), and championed by Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), the Chair of the Committee — authorizes $35 million to provide support to regional forces working to protect people from LRA atrocities. (more…)
Back in February we released the first in what will be series of “report cards” grading President Obama’s progress on implementing the LRA strategy he released last November. It may seem strange to hand out grades to the most powerful man in the world, but the premise is actually pretty simple: citizens (that’s us) have a responsibility to hold elected officials (that’s him) accountable to the promises they make (that’s the President’s LRA strategy).
One year ago today, our team stood in the Oval Office as President Obama put pen to paper, signing into law a bill that committed his Administration to step up their leadership for an end to the LRA’s brutal atrocities and abductions. It was a moment of unparalleled optimism for us, made deeply satisfying by the countless hours of determined lobbying, writing, and braving-the-cold-in-Oklahoma-ing from thousands of committed advocates that made it possible. (more…)
We joined forces with 38 other civil society organizations today to urge President Obama to be more aggressive in implementing his strategy to protect civilians in central Africa affected by LRA violence.
The full statement is below, but here’s the skinny: One year after President Obama signed the LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act — championed by tens of thousands of Americans — into law, continuing LRA violence is far outmatching the US efforts to stop it. Or, in the words of Fr. Benoit Kinalegu, a priest who’s documented LRA atrocities in northern Congo for several years: (more…)
After 180 days in development preceded by more than one year of committed activism, President Obama provided Congress with his strategy to help stop the violence perpetrated by the LRA and rebuild affected communities.
The completed strategy, including a letter from President Obama to the members of Congress who passed the bill, is 36 pages long and features several ideas for how the Obama administration might help end Africa’s longest-running war that were also included in Resolve’s policy report, From Promise to Peace.
In the strategy’s cover letter, President Obama referenced the significant involvement of numerous agencies in the creation and implementation of the strategy and said, “My administration looks forward to working closely with the Congress on this important issue.”
President Obama’s team has done an admirable job in formulating a strategy and demonstrating commitment to address the LRA scourge, but the challenge now is to turn this piece of paper into improvements on the ground. Solid first steps the president should take would include a significant boost in resources in his FY 2012 budget request to address this crisis and the designation of a senior State Department official to oversee the strategy’s implementation.
Our analysis is forthcoming. For now, you can download it here, check it out yourself, and celebrate being part of a truly historic accomplishment.
Get to know it well, because very soon it will be up to us to hold President Obama accountable to its effective implementation.
PS – More than 6,000 of you pledged to read the strategy. We would love to see your faces and your follow-through, so take a few seconds to post a photo of yourself reading the strategy on our Facebook wall.
Last year, the efforts of tens of thousands of people and hundreds of Members of Congress secured the passage of a bill that requires President Obama and his team to develop a comprehensive strategy to help see an end to LRA atrocities.
But as the President’s team develops their plan, a major question remains unanswered: will the President’s promise translate into a strategy that includes the major new investment of resources and leadership needed to actually achieve peace?
One thing we do know is that our silence would make the answer much more likely to be ‘no,’ and communities across central Africa will continue to face abductions and brutal attacks. But when our voices unify to call for justice, they have the power to rightly shake things up in DC.
When he signed the bill into law, the President promised to “renew our commitments and strengthen our capabilities to protect and assist civilians caught in the LRA’s wake, to receive those that surrender, and to support efforts to bring the LRA leadership to justice.”
The President’s strategy is now due in just 52 days, and its contents will impact the future for hundreds of thousands of people whose children, homes, and communities are being targeted by the LRA.
That’s why we launched From Promise to Peace. This campaign aims to raise the bar for the President, and to make sure his own words translate into the leadership needed to permanently end LRA atrocities and abductions. While 52 days is not long, there is much we can still do to accomplish this goal.
Then, sign up for a local lobby meeting to convince your Member of Congress to do the same. Unless our representatives in Congress speak out, they reinforce the message that addressing the gross injustices being faced by families and children across central Africa is not a worthy priority.
That message has helped perpetuate this crisis for more than two decades, and our voices can help change it.
On May 24, 2010 President Obama signed the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act into law and issued a public statement promising to “help bring an end to the brutality and destruction that have been a hallmark of the LRA across several countries for two decades, and to pursue a future of greater security and hope for the people of central Africa.” As required by the bill, the President’s team is now developing the first-ever comprehensive United States strategy to address the crisis.
After two decades of international neglect toward this crisis, this historic step was taken as a direct result of the mobilization of tens of thousands of American activists. We have given our leaders a clear mandate to take serious action to finally help end the campaign of violence and mass abductions being waged by the LRA.
But this battle is not over. A huge question now looms: will the President use this mandate to pursue a strategy that is strong enough to actually achieve peace?
Doing so would require the President and his team to dedicate a level of diplomatic and material resources that are unprecedented toward this crisis, and many U.S. policymakers still don’t think stopping LRA atrocities deserves such attention. They would prefer that the U.S. make “band-aid” contributions that improve the situation but don’t bring Joseph Kony and LRA leaders to justice or see the crisis permanently ended. If activists are quiet now, those voices could win out.
It was committed activism that created this moment of opportunity. Now, it is needed again to make sure President Obama follows through on his promise with a plan capable of achieving peace.
The due date set by Congress for the President’s strategy is November 20. That’s a short 63 days away.
Next week, we will be launching our next campaign to mobilize American citizens and Members of Congress to send the clear message that the President’s strategy must be strong enough to bring a permanent end to LRA atrocities.
Are you ready?