(Sister Angelique, Abbe Benoit, Innocent, and Michael Poffenberger between DC meetings)
Today Abbe Benoit and Sister Angelique will have the opportunity to speak before Congress on “The continuing human rights crisis in LRA-affected areas.” The hearing, hosted by the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, is meant to assess continuing atrocities and gauge the impact of currently-deployed U.S. advisers in protecting civilians and disarming Joseph Kony and the LRA.
I spoke to Abbe Benoit and Sister Angelique yesterday afternoon, and they are very eager to speak directly to the people who have the influence to improve the security of LRA-affected areas of Central Africa. They have a packed schedule these next few weeks, but the exhaustion is well worth the opportunity to advocate on behalf of the people they work to protect: the victims, the orphans, and the widows of the Lord’s Resistance Army.
Sister Angelique plans to speak about the women she works with and the long term needs for the LRA-affected communities in terms of education, vocational training, psychosocial counseling, etc.
Abbe Benoit will speak to what the region needs most from the international community, i.e., communications infrastructure, human rights accountability for regional militaries, professionalization of regional militaries, etc.
(Debriefing with the delegation in Resolve’s DC offices)
Invisible Children will be posting updates via Twitter, Instagram, and the blog throughout the day, and soon Abbe Benoit and Sister Angelique’s testimonies will be available online. The hearing begins at 2:30 EDT, and should be streamed live. We’ll post the link once we get it. In the meantime, see below for the complete witness list for today hearing.
Our thanks to Reps. McGovern (D-MA) and Wolf (R-VA), for co-chairing this commission and making today’s testimony possible. We also appreciate Resolve and Crisis Action for bringing the delegates to the U.S. and coordinating their entire schedule.
• The Honorable Donald Yamamoto, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, U.S. Department of State
• The Honorable Earl Gast, Assistant Administrator for Africa, U.S. Agency for International Development
• Mr. Gregory Pollock, Director, South and East Africa, Office of the Secretary of Defense for Policy, Department of Defense
• Mr. Michael Poffenberger, Co-founder and Executive Director, The Resolve
• Father Benoit Kinalegu, President, Dungu-Doruma Diocesan Commission for Justice and Peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo
• Sister Angelique Namaika, Coordinator, Mama Bongisa, Democratic Republic of Congo
• Mr. John Prendergast, Co-founder, The Enough Project
Photo credit: Lisa Dougan, Resolve
Remember when we were hounding you to hound your members of Congress about cosponsoring the KONY 2012 Resolution? Well your hounding is paying off.
The U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs unanimously passed the Kony 2012 Resolution last Thursday.
The resolution (H. Res. 583) is a commitment to support the international effort to end LRA violence and arrest Joseph Kony, with a special focus on civilian protection, regional cooperation, and rehabilitation programs for affected communities. It supports the U.S. advisers currently deployed and lays out next steps for our leaders.
Just to be clear — this is a big deal. As you may remember from Schoolhouse Rock, there are several checkpoints before a bill or resolution can be passed. So each time an LRA-related bill passes a checkpoint, it’s a big deal.
And of the “big deal” checkpoints, passing through committee is one of the most important. It means that the Congressional experts on foreign affairs have weighed in and agreed that this bill is in good shape and ready to be voted on by the entire House of Representatives.
We are celebrating the passage through the HouseForeign Affairs Committee and looking forward to when the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations will vote on the companion bill (S. Res. 402) in the next week or so. We’ll let you know how it goes!
Latest updates on LRA-related legislation come from Resolve, our advocacy partners in D.C.
Our thanks to the Members of Congress who cosponsored this bill and for those who have long been vocal supporters of efforts to stop the LRA. In particularly, we’re talking to you, Representatives Jim McGovern (D-MA), Ed Royce (R-CA), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Howard Berman (D-CA), and Chris Smith (R-NJ).
Again, thank you to everyone who attended a lobby meeting or asked members of Congress to support this resolution. It has been so encouraging to see the turnout of committed young activists and then the strong response from policymakers in Congress. I think this might be the way the democratic process was meant to work.