04.20.12

In New Video, Senators Underscore Support For U.S. Efforts To Capture Joseph Kony

Senators Embrace Engagement Of The Millions Of Young Americans Part Of Kony 2012 Movement

WASHINGTON – The day before the Kony 2012 movement’s global day of action, U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), John Kerry (D-Mass.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) released a new video on the Senate’s efforts to support the removal of Joseph Kony and his top lieutenants in the Lord’s Resistance Army from the battlefield in central Africa. Former U.S. Senator Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), is also featured in the video, which is aimed at the millions of young Americans who have become part of the Kony 2012 movement in the last month.

The seven-and-a-half-minute video, titled “Pursuing Joseph Kony: A Message from the United States Senate” went live on YouTube Thursday and will be pushed out through senators’ digital channels, including Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, email, and their websites.

“I read a report in 1997 by Human Rights Watch about the abduction of children by a heavily armed Ugandan rebel group called the Lord’s Resistance Army,” Senator Leahy said. “I began doing what I could to share that report with other Senators.  Later I sent a top aide to northern Uganda to meet with people who had been displaced and victimized by the LRA.  He visited some of the tens of thousands of children  –  they were known as “nightwalkers.”  What a chilling term that was to hear – “nightwalkers.”  It describes young children who walked every evening, for as much as two hours, from their rural villages to shelters in town where they were protected from abduction by the LRA.  A program I started that is now called the Leahy War Victims Fund has been used to provide artificial limbs and wheelchairs to the LRA’s victims, and for years we have provided food, medicine, and shelter to traumatized families who have fled the LRA.  There has been progress, and what we are now seeing is unprecedented attention to the horrors of these atrocities, because of students and citizens in Africa and across America, who have taken the time to watch and learn and share information about Kony and about the high toll taken by the violence in Central Africa.  Crimes against humanity should be everyone’s concern, no matter where they occur.  We can all work to help victims of war rebuild their lives, we can all work to bring the perpetrators of atrocities to justice, and we can all work to help make the world a better place.” Senator Leahy is chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Department of State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs.

Forty-three senators have cosponsored S.Res.402, a resolution in the Senate introduced last month condemning Kony and declaring support for U.S. efforts to advise regional forces on Kony’s capture.

The YouTube video can be found here.

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