CONGRESS PASSES BIPARTISAN BILL REQUIRING PLAN TO HELP END LRA’S HORRIFIC ATROCITIES
Bill to Confront Africa's Longest Running Rebel Group Heads to the President for Signature
May 13, 2010 -
Following passage of their legislation requiring a strategy to confront the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), the bipartisan, bicameral group of legislators behind the bill called on President Obama to quickly sign it into law and make a personal commitment to ending the LRA’s ongoing bloodshed. The LRA, Africa’s longest running rebel group, is responsible for countless atrocities in Uganda and neighboring countries. The LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act, introduced by Senators Russ Feingold (D-WI), Sam Brownback (R-KS) and James Inhofe (R-OK) in the Senate and Representatives Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Ed Royce (R-CA) in the House, requires the Obama administration to develop a new multifaceted, interagency strategy to assist regional governments in disarming the LRA, while ensuring the protection of civilians. This legislation has been cosponsored by 194 members of the House of Representatives and 64 members of the Senate, making it the most widely cosponsored Africa-specific bill in recent U.S. history.
"Passage of this bill with historic bipartisan support shows that Congress is committed to ending the LRA’s reign of terror," Senator Feingold said. "I urge President Obama to sign this bill into law and quickly develop a plan to stop Joseph Kony and the LRA from committing further atrocities by bringing a lasting resolution to this conflict."
"I applaud my House colleagues for passing this important piece of legislation. The LRA is a serious threat to the people of Uganda and neighboring countries. We must continue to work for a lasting peace. I am hopeful that the President acts quickly to sign this bill into law," Senator Brownback said.
"Last night’s House action on the LRA bill marks a major step in addressing the atrocities of Joseph Kony and the LRA’s devastating activities in Uganda," said Inhofe. "This bill will help protect the children and people from Joseph Kony’s reign of terror. As the only U.S. Senator that has made over 100 country visits to the continent of Africa, I have witnessed first-hand the devastation caused by the LRA. Because of this, I have become fervently involved in trying to prevent further abductions and murders of Ugandan children. Now we are offering hope as this bill mandates the development of strategies to apprehend Kony and other top LRA leaders. I look forward to President Obama signing this measure," Senator Inhofe said.
"I'm very pleased that this important, bipartisan legislation will be going to the President for his signature," Rep. Jim McGovern said. "It is crucial that the United States commit to a proactive strategy to help bring this conflict to an end and to strengthen humanitarian assistance. Passage of this bill is a tribute to the thousands of activists across the country who have dedicated themselves to this cause."
"The LRA’s objectives are threefold: kill, capture and resupply for its next pillage. There is no other reason for its being. The removal of Kony and his top leadership would decapitate this group. This legislation ensures U.S. leadership in making that happen. The day can’t come soon enough," declared Rep. Ed Royce, a former Africa subcommittee chairman.
For over two decades, the LRA terrorized northern Uganda, resulting in the displacement of nearly two million people at the height of the problem. The LRA has been pushed out of Uganda in recent years, but continues to wreak havoc in the border region of northeastern Congo, southern Sudan and Central African Republic. In addition to requiring a strategy, the LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act calls for increased humanitarian assistance for communities throughout the region now affected by the LRA’s brutality. It also authorizes U.S. assistance for transitional justice and reconciliation efforts in Uganda.