In the past week, there has been a viral web reaction to the Kony 2012 video and its campaign to stop the violence of Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistence Army. In response to questions on how Catholics should respond, we offer these thoughts:
The video calls for Kony to be captured and brought to justice through the International Criminal Court (ICC) indictment on him. As an American organization and targeting the American public, the video urges for continued support of the U.S. military advisors deployed in the LRA affected areas. CRS’ area of expertise is not in military action. CRS has been working for years to help the victims of Kony and the LRA. Even if Kony is captured or killed, the effects of the LRA will be felt for years and CRS will continue to work with the people of the LRA-affected areas on rehabilitation and reconciliation.
After US Catholics watch the Invisible Children video, the obvious next question they ask themselves is what they can do. The following are some suggestions, based on Church statements, the work that CRS and our partners do, and the US legislation, that can guide this conversation:
1. Support CRS’ and our partners’ efforts in the LRA affected areas, both in rebuilding northern Uganda and protecting communities in eastern DRC, as well as broader efforts by CRS, the Church and other partners to improve governance and services throughout the DRC and CAR as a way to address LRA and other threats to civilian populations.
2. Urge the Obama Administration and the Congress to provide the necessary support to the following components of the LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act:
Seek peaceful alternatives such as promoting defections of LRA combatants and reintegration into communities.
Increase funding for civilian protection and the development of community protection plans including improved communication systems such as HF radios (and cell phones networks) that can be used as part of early warning systems.
Increase resources for humanitarian assistance and resources to increase access to remote communities (e.g. more humanitarian flights) (in currently LRA-affected areas) and reconstruction in northern Uganda commensurate to the needs.
3. Urge that the Administration and the Congress support the poverty-focused humanitarian and development funding that assists people throughout the region to improve their lives, per the CRS programming examples from DRC and S. Sudan, both funded by U.S. poverty-focused international assistance, and as articulated in the latest Action Alert.
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