Wednesday, 7 March 2012

KONY 2012

The following information is taken from Wikipedia:

Joseph Rao Kony (born 1961 in Odek, Uganda) is a Ugandan guerrilla group leader, head of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), a group engaged in a violent campaign to establish theocratic government based on the Ten Commandments throughout Uganda. The LRA say that God has sent spirits to communicate this mission directly to Kony.
Directed by Kony, the LRA has earned a reputation for its actions against the people of several countries, including northern Uganda, the Democratic Republic of CongoSouth Sudan and Sudan. It has abducted and forced an estimated 66,000 children to fight for them, and has also forced the internal displacement of over 2,000,000 people since its rebellion began in 1986. As a result, in 2005 Kony was indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court at the Hague, but has succeeded in evading capture since.

Lord's Resistance Army

Originally Kony's group was named the United Holy Salvation Army (UHSA) and was not perceived as a threat by the NRA. By 1988, with the accord between NRA and the Uganda People's Democratic Army and addition of its remnant troops as well as forced recruitment of children the United Holy Salvation Army was becoming a formidable resistance army. The bulk of his foot soldiers were children. Whilst estimates of the number of children conscripted since 1986 vary, some put the figure as high as 104,000. He often killed their family and neighbors when abducting these children, forcing them to fight for him. With these remnants of UPDA was commander Odong Latek, who convinced Kony to use standard military tactics as opposed to its previous attempts which involved attacking in cross-shaped formations and the use of holy water. The new tactics proved successful and the UHSA delivered several small but stinging defeats against the NRA. After these victories the NRA responded by significantly weakening Kony's group with political actions and a military campaign named Operation North. The operation was devastating to what would become the Lord's Resistance Army and with their number reduced from thousands to hundreds still engaged in retaliatory attacks on civilians and NRA collaborators.
By 1992, Kony had renamed the group the United Democratic Christian Army and it was at this time that they kidnapped 44 girls from the Sacred Heart Secondary and St. Mary's girls schools.
Betty Bigombe remembered that the first time she met Kony, his followers used oil to ward-off bullets and evil spirits.[ In a letter regarding future talks, Kony stated that he must consult the Holy Spirit. When the talks did occur they insisted on participation of religious leaders and opened the proceedings with prayers led by LRA's Director of Religious Affairs Jenaro Bongomi. Finally, during the 1994 peace talks Kony appeared preceded by men in robes sprinkling holy water.
Joseph Kony was thought among followers and detractors alike to have been possessed by spirits; he has been portrayed as either the Messiah or the Devil. He reportedly made annual trips to the Ato Hills in Uganda. He would allegedly ascend to the highest of the hills and lie down in the hot sun for days. He would be covered by a blanket of red termites that slashed deeply into his skin. Oil from the Yao plant was spread over his body. Then he would enter a cave and stay in seclusion for weeks. Kony believes in the literal protection provided by a cross symbol and tells his child soldiers a cross on their chest drawn in oil would protect them from bullets. Kony insists that he and the Lord's Resistance Army are fighting for the Ten Commandments, defending his actions: "Is it bad? It is not against human rights. And that commandment was not given by Joseph. It was not given by LRA. No, those commandments were given by God."
The Ugandan military has attempted to kill Kony for most of the insurgency. Uganda's latest attempt towards tracking down Kony has been to enlist the help of former LRA combatants to search remote areas of the Central African Republic, the Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo where he was last seen.

On October 6, 2005, it was announced by the International Criminal Court (ICC) that arrest warrants had been issued for five members of the Lord's Resistance Army forcrimes against humanity following a sealed indictment. On the next day Ugandan defense minister Amama Mbabazi revealed that the warrants include Joseph Kony, his deputy Vincent Otti, and LRA commanders Raska LukwiyaOkot Odiambo and Dominic Ongwen. According to spokesmen for the military, the Ugandan army killed Lukwiya on August 12, 2006.
A week later, on October 13, ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo released details on Kony's indictment. There are 33 charges, 12 counts are crimes against humanity, which include murder, enslavement, sexual enslavement and rape. There are another 21 counts of war crimes which include murder, cruel treatment of civilians, intentionally directing an attack against a civilian population, pillaging, inducing rape, and forced enlisting of children into the rebel ranks. Ocampo said that "Kony was abducting girls to offer them as rewards to his commanders."
On July 31, 2006, Kony met with several cultural, political, and religious leaders from northern Uganda at his hideout in the Congolese forests to discuss the war. The following day, August 1, he crossed the border into Sudan to speak with Southern Sudan Vice President Riek Machar. Kony later told reporters that he would not be willing to stand trial at the ICC because he had not done anything wrong.
On November 12, 2006, Kony met Jan Egeland, the United Nations Undersecretary-General for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief. Kony told Reuters: "We don't have any children. We only have combatants."

U.S. action against Kony.
After the September 11th attacks, the United States declared the Lord's Resistance Army a terrorist group. On August 28, 2008, the United States Treasury Department placed Kony on its list of "Specially Designated Global Terrorists," a designation that carries financial and other penalties. It is not known whether Kony has any assets that are affected by this designation.
In May 2010, U.S. President Barack Obama signed into law the Lord's Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act, legislation aimed at stopping Kony and the LRA. The bill passed unanimously in the Senate on March 11, 2010 with 65 senators as cosponsors, then passed unanimously in the House of Representatives on May 13, 2010 with 202 representatives as cosponsors.
In November 2010, Obama delivered a strategy document to Congress, asking for more money to disarm Kony and the LRA.
In October 2011, Obama authorized the deployment of approximately 100 combat-equipped U.S. troops to central Africa. They will help regional forces “remove from the battlefield” Joseph Kony and senior LRA leaders. "Although the U.S. forces are combat-equipped, they will only be providing information, advice, and assistance to partner nation forces, and they will not themselves engage LRA forces unless necessary for self-defense," Obama said in a letter to Congress.

Please donate what you can to the cause outlined in the video above. Get Kony arrested. Buy a bracelet, or a t-shirt, or donate what you can:

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