Update on Northern Uganda/LRA Bill

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Thanks again to everyone who signed our online petition earlier this year regarding the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act of 2009 (S. 1067, H.R. 2478). You’ll be happy to know that we succeeded in sounding the alarm about the bill’s readiness to encourage unspecified military action against the LRA and its leader, Joseph Kony. A revised version of the bill features considerable changes, including an emphasis on multilateral approaches to addressing LRA violence, a clarification that military action would only be taken in the “continued absence of a negotiated solution,” and a nod toward the importance of civilian protection in any endeavor. The changes also strengthened the commitment to transitional justice and reconstruction in Uganda.

Yet AFJN and our partner organizations feel the changes do not go far enough. The vague support for negotiated solutions still leaves the door wide open for AFRICOM and fails to appreciate the risks such actions would pose to civilian lives and genuine peace in the region. Thus, we continue to write articles and to dialogue with the Hill offices to emphasize that this bill should be about peace, through and through. AFJN staff recently helped arrange a visit from Bishop Emeritus Paride Taban from Southern Sudan with Senator Feingold’s office to emphasize the importance of a peaceful solution to the crisis. Two Comboni sisters who worked in the region are going to visit the same office in December with the help of our office to deliver a similar message. 

Mid-November, the Senate Foreign Relations gave its unanimous support for the new version of the bill, making it eligible for a vote on the Senate floor. It’s not too late to let your representatives know that this bill should be about peace and should not be seen as a go-ahead for the military. Check our website or the ResistAFRICOM website (www.resistafricom.org) for more!

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