We have an opportunity to get President Obama and all the world leaders together to talk about stopping LRA atrocities. There’s no way we’re letting an opportunity like that pass us by.
Here’s the deal
Almost every country in the world is represented at the United Nations, and they’re all getting together in September for the UN General Assembly. We think that’s an ideal time for them to figure out how they’re going to work together to arrest Joseph Kony and end the LRA crisis.
What we’re going to do
All of us, wherever we live on this planet, are going to contact our leaders and ask them to show up at this meeting about stopping the LRA.
If you live in the United States
Reps. Jim Mcgovern (D-MA) and Ed Royce (R-CA) have already drafted a letter to President Obama, asking that he or a high-level official shows up to the meeting on the LRA when the UN General Assembly meets. We need you to call your representative and ask them to please sign that letter. The more representatives who sign on, the more powerful the letter will be when President Obama receives it. There are 435 representatives in the United States. Challenge extended.
There’s a deadline.
We are going to have to mobilize quickly because Monday is less than a week away. The letter to President Obama is going to be “closed” and delivered next Thursday, so these calls and emails have to land on Monday.
That’s the plan
We’ll give you more information as we have it. Right now we’re putting together a webpage that will walk you through what to say and how to say it. We’ll post it on KONY2012.com for Monday so you’ll have what you need right in front of you. For now, save the date and get your friend and family on board.
On Behalf of the Youth
Two young Invisible Children supporters attended the United Nations Security Council’s briefing on the LRA last week. A few days before that, they accompanied our CEO Ben Keesey and assisted him in handing over the 3,729,816 signed pledges. Maya and Marcelo represented the millions of young activists that committed their support to see the end of LRA violence. Suffice to say, you were represented well.
These students are two of our most incredible supporters and among the most dedicated young activists we’ve ever seen.
Click here to be empowered by their stories and their post-experience reflections.
“The effort to have KONY arrested and his henchmen stopped has the support of so many young and old, as many as 3.7 million. It means that we are not alone. It makes us sure that together we will stop Kony.” – Francisco Madeira, AU Special Envoy on the LRA issue
“Is there any other place on Earth where we would have tolerated for a quarter of a century this kind of movement to kidnap, maim, kill, terrorize and target children year in and year out?” -Jan Egeland, Deputy Director, Human Rights Watch
“We want to appreciate the work done by Invisible Children, which has been able to make the world know that there is a tyrant in Africa maiming, raping and destroying the lives of young Africans.” – Francisco Madeira
“Having over 3 million in support of what we are doing on a daily basis to put Kony out of reaching the population is a burden on us. We do appreciate this. While it’s a burden, it is also an encouragement, for us to be able to do more.” -Abou Moussa, UN Special Representative to Central Africa
“Never underestimate your power. You’re not old enough to vote in this country but you’ve already shown how much your voices can matter. You have changed the debate and you have raised awareness.” US Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice
“Never stop contributing. Never stop being active. The worst thing you can do is be passive.” -Ambassador Rice
“Being young doesn’t mean that you can’t change anything. As adolescents you’re often told ‘you’re 15, you can’t do anything.’ Invisible Children really challenges that, and I really challenged that, being part of Invisible Children.” -Marcelo, young activist from New York City
“The only progress is action” -Jan Egeland
We want a future in which child abductions and mass atrocities don’t go unnoticed–starting with the atrocities of Joseph Kony and the LRA.
Joseph Kony is one of the world’s worst war criminals, and I call on my leaders to support the international efforts now led by the United Nations and African Union to arrest him and his top commanders, bring the child soldiers home, and restore lasting peace.
Between March and May, 3,729,815 people signed this pledge. This week that message was delivered at the United Nations.
(picture above) Marcelo is 15 years old. He worked tirelessly last fall raising money for Invisible Children’s early-warning radio network in DR Congo. Maya, too, is 15 years old. This past spring, when KONY 2012 and Cover the Night launched, she stepped up as a leader in her school community. Susan Rice, the US Ambassador to the UN, accepted your pledges from these young activists.
(picture above) Father Benoit’s full-time work is civilian protection and rehabilitation in DR Congo because of LRA atrocities.Yesterday he delivered your signatures to the two people in the United Nations and African Union who have the most influence on the strategy to stop the LRA: Abou Moussa and Francisca Madeira.
Marcelo, Maya, and Father Benoit represent the hearts, hands, and minds of this movement. Together, we are building the future we want.
For the past year and a half, our world has seen more protests, revolutions and uprisings than ever before. It’s been a time of action, justice and change, and people around the world have been taking a stand to advocate for their right to live as free citizens in their own countries. Though so much of this social action has resulted in positivity, we were reminded on June 20, 2012, World Refugee Day that there is still so much progress to be made.
Over 42 million people around the world have been displaced and over 1 million others have been forced to leave their countries because of dangerous violence and conflict.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon made a special statement yesterday in honor of all those still affected, and he reminded us why we continue to work toward our goal of seeing an end to LRA violence and that there is still work to be done all over the world.
Click Here for the wonderful statement from Ban Ki-moon.
Taking a stand for Syria
We are a generation who will not stand for the brutality against our brothers and sisters, wherever that may be. As a part of a global connectivity, there is a responsibility that flows from it. Invisible Children stands behind the Cinema for Peace Foundation in its release of“Siege on Syria”, a new short film on the atrocities taking place in Syria, committed by President Bashar al-Assad and his regime.
Since spring 2011, President Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian armed forces have tried to violently crush a popular uprising against his regime. The security forces are repeatedly targeting civilians by shelling houses and executing women and children from point-blank range. These atrocities have already claimed almost 20,000 lives, more than 200,000 people arrested, and caused close to 100,000 refugees to leave the country.
(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
From DR Congo to Washington, DC, to the United Nations
The press conference at the United Nations Security Council is fast approaching, and we are so happy to say that two local leaders from northeastern DR Congo will be there. They arrived in DC yesterday, and over the next couple of weeks they will be speaking in front of some of the most influential governing bodies in the world on behalf of the remote communities in Central Africa that continue to be targeted by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).
Father Benoit (whom you might recognize from KONY 2012: Part II – Beyond Famous or one of our videos about his Early Warning Radio Network) and Sister Angelique both do remarkable work in their communities, protecting civilians and helping rehabilitate those who have escaped from the LRA. I copied their bios below so that you could get a glimpse of the experience and knowledge they bring with them. Our advocacy partner, Resolve, and Crisis Action are hosting the two delegates on their three-week advocacy tour.
Tomorrow (Tuesday) they will testify at a Congressional hearing and next week they will deliver your 3.5 million pledge signatures to the United Nations Security Council. The week after that, they will head to Europe for a series of policy meetings.
They have quite the trip ahead of them, and we will be posting updates as we get them. This is a momentous week.
Read Sister Angelique and Father Benoit’s bios here.
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.
Jolly Okot, Acaye Jacob, Norbert Mao, Martin Ojara Mapenduzi and Ben Keesey take on the US Capitol. For a better understanding of these regional players, and why they spent the day speaking to Congress, read this blog.