Kony 2012 – House of Lords debate on March 26th about the LRA and Kony.


Kony 2012 ( http://www.youtube.com/user/invisiblechildreninc?feature=watch )is a viral video watched on the internet by more than 100 million people worldwide. Made by an American advocacy group, Invisible Children, it tells the story of the mass murderer and child abductor, Joseph Kony, and his Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).

In 1987Kony began his ruthless campaign in northern Uganda of killing and mutilation, recruiting 30,000 children into his militia. The LRA routinely abducts and indoctrinates boys, training them to fight, while girls are raped and used as sex slaves.

Pernille Ironside, senior advisor for child protection at UNICEF graphically tells how a girl escaping the LRA was “brutally slaughtered as a deterrent to everyone else.” She shockingly describes the slaughter of babies for cannibalism.

Since 1987 Kony has operated with impunity moving his terrifying operations to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic and South Sudan. Money and oil are additional ingredients in a “resource war” with the increasingly controversial Ugandan Government of Yoweri Museveni.

In 2005, the newly established International Criminal Court’s first arrest warrants were against Kony, his deputy, Vincent Otti, and three other LRA commanders. The ICC’s prosecutor, Luis Marino Ocampo, wants Kony for crimes against humanity, telling Kony 2012 “it will be bad for the world if we fail.”

Ocampo has just secured a long awaited conviction against Thomas Lubanga, a Congolese war lord, who, like Kony, has built an army of children: a stark warning to armed groups using children in around 15 conflicts worldwide – groups like the LRA and al-shabaab in Somalia.

Despite forcing new focus on Kony’s crimes Kony 2012 has been criticised as simplistic, celebrity centred, income generating for its makers, and inaccurate in implying that Kony is still at large in Uganda, which he quit six years ago.

The personal criticism and the extraordinary media frenzy are said to be contributory factors in the mental breakdown of its maker, Jason Russell – who has been arrested and detained in San Diego.
Whatever the reason, it’s a cruel paradox that Russell has been taken into custody while the man he wants to bring to justice remains at large.

Set all this aside and contrast the impact of Russell’s internet campaign with the failure of political leaders to apprehend a mass murderer who boasts that he cuts off the lips, ears, noses, and breasts, of those who refuse to recognise him as a divine leader.

Contrast it with the year and a half it has taken to secure a one hour debate which I have in Parliament on March 26th when the Government will be asked what steps they are taking to bring Kony and other LRA leaders to trial at the International Criminal Court.

I first requested this debate after meeting Juliet, a courageous young woman, on the day she delivered a letter to the Prime Minister, asking for help for LRA victims. Juliet had been captured by the LRA, raped and lost her child in childbirth. The charity, Warchild, had invited her to London.

I told her story in the House of Lords.

One year before, in October 2009, I had asked Ministers questions which still remain unanswered – who funds the LRA; who arms it; why haven’t western intelligence agencies pooled resources to track down Kony? Why have the UN and the African Union, been so lamentably inadequate in protecting civilian populations?

In November 2009 I sent a letter to the Government arguing that

“LRA attacks exacerbate underlying political and ethnic tensions and have the potential to destroy advances made in the development of democratic government-and it neutralises the considerable investment of UK aid”.

A month later I asked Ministers about links between LRA commanders and people living in the UK.

The next month I warned that the LRA were being used as a proxy by Sudan’s Khartoum regime – itself led by an indicted war criminal, Omar al-Bashir, also wanted by the ICC for crimes against humanity, and told Parliament that shockwaves of fear had been sent through the region:

“This notoriously vicious rebel group continues to wreak havoc-since the end of 2008 alone, the LRA has displaced close to 70,000 southern Sudanese in Western and Central Equatoria states and led to an influx of some 18,000 refugees from the neighbouring DRC”.

I requested that the LRA’s depredations be raised during our Presidency of the UN Security Council and argued for a coherent regional strategy to deal with the LRA and greater efforts to stop the flow or arms into the region.

In response, before the last General Election Ministers told me:
“Why has Joseph Kony not been arrested? That is a very difficult question, and I wish that someone could come up with an answer.”

And after the General Election new Ministers said the same:

“The noble Lord, Lord Alton, asked me why it has not been so effective so far; I cannot answer that precisely.”

Years pass and now, in 2012, Britain again has the Presidency of the United Nations Security Council and the United States has 100 military advisors in Africa working to track down the LRA and its leaders.
Advisors, organisations, politicians, Ministers and debates to one side, whatever its inadequacies, the game changer has been a social networking video which has mobilised millions of mainly young people worldwide and focused on April 20th as the day to “make Kony famous.”

And I, for one, am grateful that Kony 2012 has succeeded in pushing this scandalous issue up the agenda – perhaps making 2012 the year when Kony is finally brought to justice.
View Kony 2012 at:

http://www.youtube.com/user/invisiblechildreninc?feature=watch

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Background since 2009….

Lord Alton of Liverpool (Crossbench) 28th October 2009.

My Lords, given that Joseph Kony and three of his lieutenants are wanted for war crimes and, when apprehended, are to appear before the International Criminal Court, how do the Government respond to MONUC’s complaint that western Governments have not shared information with it about the whereabouts of Joseph Kony in order to bring about his apprehension? What does the Minister know about the funding of the LRA? Who is responsible for providing it with the weapons that it has used in Darfur, Uganda, the Central African Republic and southern Sudan?
Baroness Kinnock (the Minister)
“The LRA is destabilising the situation in the region wherever and whenever it can. The United Nations, the UK and the European Union are well aware, as is the African Union, that finding Kony is not easy. It has been asserted that he was on that sortie into Darfur and south Sudan; certainly that whole region is being destabilised. It is encouraging, though, that we are seeing a military collaboration by the regional powers to try to deal with the mayhem that he has created.
The International Criminal Court issue is a separate one, because it will be up to Uganda. The final peace agreement has not been agreed by Kony. A special court has been set up in Uganda, which is sitting there waiting. Were he to be captured, it would have to be decided what to do next.

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-Lord Alton of Liverpool (Crossbench) 16 December 2009
To ask Her Majesty’s Government how they are supporting the United Nations Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of Congo (GOE) investigating Rwandan Liberation Democratic Forces diaspora networks in the United Kingdom and Europe; how they are providing the GOE with intelligence on links between the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and individuals living in the United Kingdom; and what action they will take against individuals in the United Kingdom who are in direct contact with LRA commanders.
Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead (Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Labour)
The UK welcomes the Group of Experts report, and the thorough research that went into it. Where it has been legally and practically possible to do so, the UK has shared information on the activities of militia groups as requested by the Group of Experts and will continue to co-operate in this way. The UK has been in touch with the group throughout-and offered as much assistance as possible to it in its enquiries. We have also provided practical assistance on the ground in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo to members of the Group of Experts.
We are aware of allegations but we have no evidence that any links exist between the Lord’s Resistance Army and individuals in the UK.
The Lord’s Resistance Army is not proscribed as a terrorist group by the UK. Nevertheless, we will not hesitate to support sanctions against any person or company against whom there is sufficient evidence. That could of course include UK-based companies or individuals.

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January 7th 2010
Lord Aton of Liverpool:

“Khartoum’s hand is frequently found stirring tension and rivalry and inciting violence via its proxies. The north’s belligerence and in particular its collaboration with the Lord’s Resistance Army, led by Joseph Kony, about which we have heard so much, and which has been turned into a significant actor within the region, have continued to result in horrific violence in Sudan, northern Uganda and other neighbouring countries. This notoriously vicious rebel group continues to wreak havoc-since the end of 2008 alone, the LRA has displaced close to 70,000 southern Sudanese in Western and Central Equatoria states and led to an influx of some 18,000 refugees from the neighbouring DRC.
Within the last few weeks the LRA have carried out gruesome attacks in Ezo, Nzara, Yambio, Tambura, Nagero and Ibba counties. The attacks are always characterised by abductions, killings and looting. Let me refer to an extract from the joint NGO report published today:
“The unpredictable nature and brutality of the LRA attacks has sent waves of fear through Western Equatoria, the most badly hit area. With its fertile soils and relatively educated population, this should have been one of the first states in southern Sudan to thrive after the CPA. Instead, some communities are too frightened to stay in their villages or venture into the fields to cultivate. As a result, rural school enrolment has declined, and normally productive farming families are going hungry. To defend themselves against LRA attacks, communities have formed voluntary youth militia armed with traditional weapons. According to community accounts, the presence of these ‘Arrow Boys’ has provided a sense of security. But the reliance on a militia, which includes children among its ranks, is extremely worrying and is a sign of the inability of the GoSS security forces and the UN peacekeeping mission (UNMIS) to protect civilians”.
In a letter that I, the noble Lord, Lord Chidgey, the noble Baroness, Lady Chalker of Wallasey, and the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Winchester, along with Mr Eric Joyce, MP, sent to the noble Baroness on 4 November, we argued:
“LRA attacks exacerbate underlying political and ethnic tensions and have the potential to destroy advances made in the development of democratic government-and it neutralises the considerable investment of UK aid”.
In her reply of 8 December, the Minister admitted:
“The LRA continue to undermine efforts to provide humanitarian and other assistance in parts of South-Sudan … The insecurity they create also risks hampering local level preparations and conduct of the 2010 elections and the Referendum in 2011”.
The Minister told us that Ban Ki-Moon,
“is also considering establishing a regional office to focus on the LRA”.
Perhaps the noble Baroness can today tell us where we have reached in this process. Are we raising within the Security Council the proxy role of the LRA, which has a clear and deadly intent to sabotage any stability or progress in southern Sudan? Will she also propose that the Security Council strengthen the civilian protection mandate of the UN Mission in Sudan by increasing its operational presence, establishing a comprehensive civilian protection and conflict monitoring system, and creating rapid response capabilities for conflict-prone zones?
In her letter, the Minister cited the potentially positive impact of Senator Russ Feingold’s Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament Bill. Perhaps she can tell us what progress this is making and what is being done to create a coherent regional strategy to deal with the LRA. Her Majesty’s Government could do worse than to appoint a special envoy-perhaps someone of the calibre of the Minister’s predecessor, the noble Lord, Lord Malloch-Brown-to spearhead our policy in a region which has seen the loss of more than 7 million lives in the past couple of decades: Africa’s World War One.
We should never forget that the indictments against Omar al-Bashir and Joseph Kony are against war criminals responsible for crimes against humanity. Louis-Moreno Ocampo and the International Criminal Court deserve much more robust support from the world’s political leaders than they have received thus far. The intelligence community should spare no effort to apprehend the leaders of the LRA.
We also ought to be doing more to ensure not just that we bring about disarmament, but that we stop the flow of arms into this deadly region. The weapons of mass destruction in Sudan are the hundreds of thousands of foreign-made deadly small arms. In a report issued last month, it was claimed that “transport and brokering actors” come,
“from a range of other states, including European ones, despite the EU embargo, which prohibits ‘brokering services, financing and other related services'”.
It points to European actors, including British companies and citizens, which have been involved in that. What are the Government doing about this? What are we doing to encourage China to stop supplying arms to Sudan? The acquisition of arms by Khartoum, which already has 470,000 weapons in its security forces and 2 million in the hands of civilians around the country, grievously adds to arms proliferation and insecurity. Millions have been killed in this part of Africa. If ever there is to be long-term peace and reconciliation, there must be a determination to secure justice and security.

Baroness Kinnock (the Minister):
“Several noble Lords asked about the LRA. In Sudan, we have raised the issue of the LRA at a senior level with the Government of south Sudan, including the chief of staff of the SPLA. We have urged the Government of south Sudan to co-operate regionally to address the issue robustly-more robustly than we have seen to date. We assess that LRA units are currently active in north-east DRC, south Sudan and the Central African Republic. It has been suggested, including by some Ugandan officials, that the LRA could, under continuing regional military pressure, head for Darfur or Chad. We have no confirmation that that is the case. We are providing significant humanitarian assistance to those who are displaced. DfID is the largest donor to the Common Humanitarian Fund. We are providing £6 million to the ICRC in Sudan and assistance and protection to those people displaced by the LRA.
Why has Joseph Kony not been arrested? That is a very difficult question, and I wish that someone could come up with an answer. To date, we have not been able to do so. We do not comment on intelligence measures, as I am sure that the noble Lord will understand, but I would be happy to offer any more detailed briefing to him on the matters that he raised. The LRA’s impact is disproportionate to its size and we must do all that we can to end that terrible campaign. We will be in touch very soon.
We will continue to call for the protection of civilians and for close co-operation between the UN agencies. As for what we are doing to facilitate more defections from the LRA, as noble Lords will be aware, Uganda and other countries involved in operations against the LRA are working on encouraging defections. To some extent that is working; it includes work with the International Organisation for Migration, with UNICEF and with MONUC. We are studying whether more can really be done. I can come back to noble Lords on this when we have a better idea of what is possible in dealing with the abductions and coercion and the terrible implications for the individuals.

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June 2010: The Congo at 50. David Alton:
Fifty years ago, on June 30th 1960, Congo was granted its independence by Belgium – a colony which, in 1908, had literally been sold, with ruthless zeal, by King Leopold II to the Belgian Government. In 1960 I was a boy attending the parish primary school. The good nuns who ran our school had links with the Congo and the entire class had been enlisted to raise money to support children in the Congo whose harrowing plight had been made real to us by television and newspaper reports.
I thought how little had changed when, yesterday, I met Juliet, at a meeting organised by Warchild. Juliet, from northern Uganda, was just 12 when she was abducted by the Lords Resistance Army – now pursuing a murderous campaign in the Congo. She was subsequently raped and lost a child in childbirth. Today she is delivering a letter to the Prime Minister, describing her experiences and asking for more help for young people like her, who escape from the LRA, and need education and help.
The LRA are currently a major force for instability in the DRC and across the region but from the first fleeting moment of post colonial freedom Congo’s fledgling democracy began to unravel – and ever since has been blighted by instability, by debilitating and incessant conflict and by corruption.
Since 2008 a military offensive has been underway against the LRA (the Lord’s Resistance Army), and its leader, Joseph Kony, has regrouped and been recruit new children. It is a shocking indictment on the UN that Kony – against whom there is an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court – is still at large and still a major menace in the region.
In December 2009 the LRA carried out one of their largest ever massacres in the Makombo areas of north-eastern Congo, killing over 300 Congolese civilians in a four day orgy of violence.
Earlier in the year, in August 2009, a marauding band of LRA guerrillas invaded the town of Ezo, on the border of Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The group stormed into Our Lady Queen of Peace church and abducted 17 young people, mostly in their teens and 20s, and mutilated one leaving him dead. Three have returned safely, but 13 of the 17 abducted are still missing.
Less than a week after this incident, six individuals were found nailed to pieces of wood in a crucifixion-like scene in a forest in the nearby city of Nzara. 20,000 Christians gathered for three days of prayer and walked more than 2 miles barefoot in sackcloth and ashes in protest. Catholic Bishop Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala of Tombura-Yambio appealed for international help to stop the attacks by the LRA but his words have fallen on deaf ears.
We need a much more coherent military campaign to hunt down the LRA leaders and bring them to justice.
After the death of countless numbers of people in Northern Uganda Kony’s LRA continues to kill, rape, abduct and enslave children – who become its fighters.
Kony is wilier than some imagine and he sees the ungoverned reaches of northern Congo as a safe haven. This territory has become the LRA’s new killing fields with chilling reports emerging of massacres perpetrated by the LRA. It is said that Kinshasa doesn’t give a damn about the depredations caused by the LRA. It is an ungoverned territory but failure to confront the LRA does not directly threaten the central government so they turn a blind eye. The UN peacekeepers also stay clear of the north, only one twentieth of their force is deployed there, yet the violence there has reached a fever pitch, with the outside world frequently unaware. The LRA is a more deadly killing machine than even the FDLR in the east of the country.
What this failure to contain the LRA has led to is the creation of a no-man’s land from which it is able to launch new incursions into Southern Sudan – it is said, with the connivance of paymasters and facilitators in the north of that country who wish to undermine Southern Sudan’s fragile new democracy. The LRA are a useful tool in the hands of Khartoum.
Throughout the DRC the conflict to contain and deal with this violence is that two million people have been unable to return to their homes and thousands of women and girls – as well as boys and men – have been the victims of rape used as a weapon of war. As Alan Doss – who was head of MONUC put it: being a woman has become far more dangerous than being an armed militia
And the danger is matched by the danger to those who contest these depredations and who courageously speak out against atrocities and human rights abuses. That danger was graphically underlined on June 2nd when one of Congo’s leading and most ardent human rights defenders, Floribert Chebeya, was murdered. He was President of the non-governmental organisation, La Voix des Sans-Voix – Voice for the Voiceless. In 1992 Mr.Chebeya won the Reebok Human Rights Award – and spent over twenty years fighting for the respect of human rights and the rule of law.
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Universe Column – July 25th 2010
In 1960, the year in which the Congo became independent, I was a boy attending the local parish primary school. The good Sisters of Mercy who taught me had links with the Congo and the entire class had been enlisted to raise money to support Congolese children, whose harrowing plight had been made real to us by vivid television and newspaper reports. It’s when I first woke up to Africa.
I thought how little had changed when, last week, I met Juliet, at a meeting organised by Warchild.
Juliet, from northern Uganda, was just 12 when she was abducted by the Lords Resistance Army. The LRA, led by Joseph Kony, originated in Uganda and are now pursuing a murderous campaign in the Congo.
After her abduction Juliet was raped and lost a child in childbirth. On the day I told her story in the House of Lords she delivered a letter to the Prime Minister, describing her experiences and asking for more help for young people like her; children who escape from the LRA, and who need education and assistance.
Juliet’s is not an isolated case. There are thousands upon thousands of children like Juliet and teenagers like a boy called John.
John was abducted by the LRA when he was in his early teens. Beaten, force-marched, kept hungry for days, trained to use weapons, he was told to use other children as target practice. A friend who tried to escape was recaptured and staked out on the ground. John and other teenagers had to trample their friend to death. John did eventually escape and the LRA killed his father as a punishment.
Stories like these illustrate why the LRA is such a major force for instability in the DRC and across the region.
They have inflicted indescribable horrors on young people who desperately yearn for education and who want to build a future for themselves and to put the past behind them.
Failure to help former child soldiers risks the long term development and stability of the whole regions. When young people are left unemployed, psychologically traumatised and vulnerable, they are especially open to re-recruitment to the militias.
It is a popular western myth that the LRA is close to elimination.
This year, more than 600 people have been abducted, about 360 killed and more than 30,000 displaced. Human Rights Watch recently defined the LRA as the “greatest civilian threat” to the population of the DRC. There are signs that the LRA is regrouping in the ungovernable reaches of Northern Congo with the apparent aim of returning to Uganda as well as carrying out a campaign of destabilisation in neighbouring Southern Sudan.
It has already disrupted the elections in Sudan’s Western Equatoria State, with people too frightened to leave their homes to cast their votes, and has prevented the distribution of vital aid to the region.
There are now concerns that the LRA will attempt to disrupt Sudan’s January 2011 southern secession referendum. Well resourced and well armed, believing itself to be above capture and above the law, the LRA appears to act as a proxy army. It is alleged that forces in the north of Sudan, hostile to southern independence, have colluded with the LRA leadership. Paymasters and facilitators in Khartoum are bent on undermining Southern Sudan’s fragile new democracy. The LRA are a useful tool in the hands of Khartoum; and from this ungoverned no-man’s land in the north of the Congo they wage their brutal attacks.
After the death of countless numbers of people Kony’s LRA continues to kill, rape, abduct and enslave children – who become its fighters.
Kony is wilier than some imagine and he sees the impenetrable tracts of northern Congo as a safe haven. This territory has become the LRA’s new killing fields with chilling reports emerging of massacres perpetrated by the LRA. It is said that Kinshasa doesn’t give a damn about the depredations caused by the LRA. It is an ungoverned territory but failure to confront the LRA does not directly threaten the central government so they turn a blind eye. The UN peacekeepers also stay clear of the north, only one twentieth of their Congolese force is deployed there, yet the violence there has reached a fever pitch, with the outside world frequently unaware.
There has been a pathetic lack of co-ordinated, sustained interest and action by the security forces of the regional government, by UN peacekeepers and by the international community, to stop the LRA. Consequently, more than 23 years after it first emerged, the reign of terror instigated by this most vicious of rebel groups continues to terrorise a vast swathe of Africa and its innocent inhabitants.
Since 2008 Joseph Kony, has regrouped and the LRA has sought to systematically recruit new children. It is a shocking indictment on the UN that Kony – against whom there is an arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court – is still at large and still a major menace in the region.
In December 2009 the LRA carried out one of their largest ever massacres in the Makombo areas of north-eastern Congo, killing over 300 Congolese civilians in a four day orgy of violence.
Earlier in the year, in August 2009, a marauding band of LRA guerrillas invaded the town of Ezo, on the border of Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The group stormed into Our Lady Queen of Peace church and abducted 17 young people, mostly in their teens and 20s, and mutilated one leaving him dead. Three have returned safely, but 13 of the 17 abducted are still missing.
Less than a week after this incident, six individuals were found nailed to pieces of wood in a crucifixion-like scene in a forest in the nearby city of Nzara. 20,000 Christians gathered for three days of prayer and walked more than 2 miles barefoot in sackcloth and ashes in protest. The Catholic bishop of Tombura-Yambio, Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala appealed for international help to stop the attacks by the LRA but his words have fallen on deaf ears.
We clearly need a much more coherent military campaign to hunt down the LRA leaders and bring them to justice.
As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, it is surely incumbent on the United Kingdom to be as effective as possible in securing support for the UN missions working in the LRA-infiltrated areas. The UK, as one of the largest aid donors in the region needs to be more effective in mobilising African governments and international peacekeepers in eradicating the LRA. We owe it to children like Juliet and John to end this blood-letting. There can be no stability, no peace, no development, while LRA warlords like Joseph Kony can operate with arrogant impunity.
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July 8th 2010

Lord Alton of Liverpool:

In opening it, he referred to the Lord’s Resistance Army as being the greatest threat to the Democratic Republic of Congo. It could reasonably be argued that it is also the greatest threat to stability throughout the whole of the region. Only yesterday I met a young Ugandan woman who goes under the pseudonym of Juliet and was a member of the LRA. In a letter to the Prime Minister, which she is delivering today to Downing Street, she sets out her story. She says in the letter:
“When I was 12, I was abducted by rebels from the Lord’s Resistance Army … I saw many children being killed … At 14, I was forced into a sexual relationship with a man who was above my age”.
She went on to say that, after the death of a baby in childbirth:
“I was lucky and managed to get away. I made it back to my family and got help to rebuild my life … When I was in the bush I missed school for 6 years but I always had the desire to go back to school”.
I promised Juliet that I would tell her story in your Lordships’ House today. Her appeal now is for the LRA’s leaders to be brought to justice and for young women like her to be given a fresh chance in life, especially as regards education. I want to say more about the LRA, particularly as regards its role in the Democratic Republic of Congo-which was referred to by the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Winchester, the noble Lord, Lord Chidgey, and my noble friend Lady Cox-but also about the effect of its role operating out of northern Congo, particularly in Southern Sudan.
I will end by mentioning the LRA. Since 2008, a military offensive has been under way. I find it extraordinary that Joseph Kony, against whom there is an ICC arrest warrant outstanding, has not been brought to justice. I hope that the Minister will tell us what more can be done to bring him to justice and to end the culture of impunity.

Lord Wallace of Saltaire (the Minister) :

Perhaps I may say a little about the Lord’s Resistance Army and the about the suggestion made by the noble Lord, Lord Alton, that we really should have caught Joseph Kony before now. The noble Lord will be aware that it has taken a great deal of time to apprehend a number of war criminals in the western Balkans in rather more open country and a rather smaller space. These things are not entirely easy. The LRA has been operating across the borders of four countries in which the level of security, information and intelligence is very low. While we may work to encourage closer co-operation among the armed forces of Uganda, Congo and Southern Sudan, this is a necessarily difficult task.
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20 July 2010, c183W
Lord Alton of Liverpool to ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they are discussing with the Government of the United States and regional governments in central and east Africa the movements of Joseph Kony and other leaders of the Lord’s Resistance Army; and what progress is being made in bringing about their arrest and trial before the International Criminal Court.

Lord Howell of Guildford (Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Conservative)
We regularly discuss the movements of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) with other governments, (including the US, Uganda and other EU member states).
Regional military co-operation between Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and the Central African Republic, to pursue and apprehend LRA fighters, is continuing. A special division of the Ugandan High Court has been established as a possible alternative system of justice for the LRA commanders indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The Government will press the Ugandan Government to ensure that any alternative system of justice is compatible with the Rome Statute and international law, but ultimately it is for the Government of Uganda to agree with the ICC

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November 6 2010 Letter to The Daily Telegraph

Lord’s Resistance Army

SIR – Britain should use its presidency of the United Nations Security Council this month to push the apprehension of the Lord’s Resistance Army up the agenda.
Over the last two years, the LRA has killed more than 2,000 people, abducted at least 2,500 and forced 400,000 others to leave their homes, often for good, creating terror, instability and fear across Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic.
Many of the fighters are abducted children forced, under duress, to kill.
The extreme brutality of LRA attacks and the deliberate targeting of children compel an urgent call for action.
In July, while many of us in Britain were taking summer holidays, LRA members in the Democratic Republic of Congo forced three children to beat their father to death.
During Parliament’s Christmas recess in 2008, some 865 Congolese women, men and children were slaughtered by LRA combatants using axes and machetes. Many were killed on Christmas Day as they gathered to celebrate.
Such stories should not make us turn away in disbelief, they should stir us to action. As the Government emphasised in its Strategic Defence and Security Review, prioritising conflict resolution saves money and lives in the long run.
The national armies and UN forces working in the regions where the LRA operates need to share information better, so that peacekeeping missions can better prevent attacks against civilians.
But we also need robust strategies to apprehend the militia’s leaders and rescue the hundreds of children held hostage by the LRA. Apart from any moral imperative, failure to act now will only cost more lives and more money.
Lord Alton (Cross-bench)
Baroness Chalker (Conservative)
Lord Chidgey (Lib Dem)
Baroness Kinnock (Labour)

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Lord Alton of Liverpool (Crossbench) July 18th 2011

The noble Lord, Lord Chidgey, was right to direct the Minister towards the depredations of the Lord’s Resistance Army, in a country where, after all, between 5 million and 6 million people have died in the last 25 years, mainly as a result of marauding militias. Has the Minister seen the report in today’s Telegraph online about Makombo, where 321 civilians died and 250 were abducted at the end of last year, and where 26 died and 53 were abducted in another raid on 6 July? Given that in 2005 the International Criminal Court issued indictments against Joseph Kony, the leader of the LRA, and two of his lieutenants, why has MONUSCO been so inadequate in gathering the necessary intelligence to bring these people to justice?

Lord Howell of Guildford (Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Conservative)

The noble Lord is quite right to deplore the endless slaughter and activities which are associated with the Lord’s Resistance Army. It seems to be a negative force both in this country and in many others. As I said earlier to my noble friend, it is our aim to get the African Union to work very closely with MONUSCO, the second largest UN mission in existence, in meeting this problem. The noble Lord, Lord Alton, asked me why it has not been so effective so far; I cannot answer that precisely, but I can only say that we are working extremely hard with other countries, with the EU and with our colleagues and allies, to reinforce the determination of MONUSCO and the African Union to meet the problem. This is the way forward that we think will be most effective.
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Lord Alton of Liverpool (Crossbench) July 22nd 2012

My Lords, can the Minister confirm that an International Criminal Court arrest warrant still is outstanding against Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army? The LRA has been responsible for some of the worst violations against women, such as those described by my noble friend Lady Stern a few moments ago, especially in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Uganda, where it is estimated that the LRA has killed over 1 million people. Will he confirm that a letter was received by the Prime Minister only a week ago from a young woman called Juliet, who is here in London and who was herself raped by the LRA when she was just 12 years old?

Lord Howell of Guildford (Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Conservative)

The noble Lord, Lord Alton, always speaks with authority and knowledge on these issues. It is significant that this meeting was held in Kampala, and of course it is in Uganda that these arrest warrants are currently out for a number of people. It is also where some particularly horrific crimes appear to have occurred, including crimes against women, about which we were talking a moment ago. That is the position and I can only reaffirm what the noble Lord has said: this is a good example of where the ICC really can carry forward the causes of peace and justice together in what we hope is an effective way.
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One thought on “Kony 2012 – House of Lords debate on March 26th about the LRA and Kony.

  1. ‘The ICC’s prosecutor, Luis Marino Ocampo, wants Kony for crimes against humanity, telling Kony 2012 “it will be bad for the world if we fail.”’

    Unfortunately there was already a failure and Kony is simply its expression.
    The noble Lord, Lord Alton mentioned some international institutions such as Unicef, the UN Security Council, ICC etc.
    Instead of using these international institutions to promote the reason, instead of set them as platform for good examples, the UN Security Council by having Togo under unfair regime which in 2005 killed hundreads and 2010 organised frauds, as President of such institution with the importance of its duties in this world is missing its purpose and therefore is sending bad signals to the whole world, to people such as Kony.

    Unesco another international institution based in Paris (France) which through vote of its council offered the world an international price adding to this price the name of a dictator of Guinee Equatorial also was missing its very purpose.

    A leader of the UN in Sudan by attending a wedding of a dictator of Tchad where he met another criminal Mr Omar El Bechir whitout even try to check the guests list to assess if his presence at such event will not lead to a kind of conflict of interest, also was missing the very purpose of the United Nations.

    Kony is a failure.
    Kony is an expression of failures. Failures which are these succession of missings of purpose.

    Let not forget that the strenght of a concept is not in that concept at its stage of concept, but in how its translation in fact, into action sound integrity. Integrity in terms of coherence between the concept and its deployment into action. Why there were the needs to create the UN Security Council, Unesco, ICC etc? In other words what are their missions? and the were the visions that guided these missions?

    Kony is a failure and Kony is an expression of failures. For how long?

    Clement GAVI

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