After receiving a message asking what the US is doing to fight the use of children in combat in Africa, the US ambassador to Iceland decided to respond publicly.
The subject of the letter, written by a 14-year-old Icelander to the US embassy, was Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) of Uganda. Among other atrocities, he is known for using child sex slaves and child soldiers who are press-ganged into service. The youth writing the letter asked what the US was doing to stop Kony.
To this, ambassador Luis E. Arreaga wrote on his blog:
We responded to her letter and confirmed what she had heard about American efforts to protect civilians, provide American assistance, and support the capture of Kony and the disbandment of the LRA. The efforts of people in the U.S. and worldwide to raise awareness about this issue through YouTube and other media is a wonderful demonstration of “people power” in action. For those of us who have worked with African issues over the years and are aware of these issues, it is encouraging and reassuring to see young people express their concern about human rights abuses and their desire that they be stopped.
The ambassador concluded his post by linking to two US State Department sources citing what specifically the US has done to fight Kony (1, 2). These efforts stem from US president Barack Obama signing into law the Lord’s Resistance (LRA) Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act, in May 2010. This act focuses specifically on civilian protection, encouraging LRA defections, and providing humanitarian aid.
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