DR Congo + 1 more

Weekly Roundup Jan. 9 - 15: Single senator stands in the way of LRA/Uganda bill

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This week, we discovered that the LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act - which had been hotlined for passage in the Senate - is being held by Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. Despite the extraordinarily committed lobbying on this issue from thousands of constituents over the past year and an unprecedented number of Congressional cosponsors, "Dr. No" - as Coburn is known by his colleagues in the Senate - is using arcane Senate rules to proactively stop its passage. Learn more here and stay tuned as we launch a campaign to overcome Coburn's obstructionism and protect our bill, which is the best chance we've had yet to generate the US leadership needed for peace.

The Good: Uganda's Parliament is considering a Transitional Justice Bill that would establish mechanisms agreed upon during the Juba negotiations process to address crimes committed by all sides during the war.

The Bad: More than 14,000 people internally displaced in Faradje, Eastern Congo are living without any humanitarian assistance and face severe shortages of food, safe water, and medicine.

The Ugly: Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma has maintained his hold blocking the passage of the LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act, which aims to spur US leadership to end LRA violence, even as attacks on innocent civilians in central Africa continued unabated this week.

Regional Security

The UN released a new report on the LRA attacks in Upper and Lower Uélé in Eastern DR Congo last December, recording at least 30 attacks on communities in which LRA fighters killed 83 people and abducted 106.

The East African Community, comprised of Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Burundi, is considering plans to create a joint regional army to deal with both internal conflicts - such as the fighting in DR Congo - and external threats to their security.

Situation in Northern Uganda

Uganda's Parliament is considering a Transitional Justice Bill that would establish a special War Crimes Court to try members of both the LRA and Ugandan military for the most serious human rights abuses committed during the war, as well as a South Africa-style truth commission; the bill would also formalize ongoing traditional justice practices to address lower-level crimes.

Betty Bigombe, chief negotiator of two sets of peace talks between the government and the LRA, has received a prestigious international peace award. Although the talks were unsuccessful, her tireless devotion to ending LRA violence serves as an inspiration in all of our work for peace.

International Community

An appropriations bill recently passed by the US Congress included language requiring that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton provide regular reports on Uganda's path to next year's national elections, citing concerns about electoral transparency and repression of the media.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni indicated his support for amending the Anti-Homosexuality Bill currently being considered by the country's Parliament, after Secretary Clinton called Museveni directly to express US opposition to it and numerous US lawmakers spoke out against it.