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Public Statements

Bringing Justice to Uganda

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. COONS. Mr. President, the war crimes of Joseph Kony and the Lord's Resistance Army, LRA, are well documented. For two decades, they have terrorized Uganda and its neighbors in central Africa, tearing apart families and demolishing whole villages. Their war crimes are unspeakable, and Joseph Kony and other leaders of the LRA must be held accountable.

As chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs, I partnered with Senator Jim Inhofe to introduce S. Res. 402, a bipartisan resolution condemning the crimes against humanity committed by Joseph Kony and the LRA, supporting ongoing international efforts to remove Kony from the battlefield, and calling for the United States to continue to enhance its mobility, intelligence, and logistical support of regional forces protecting civilians and pursuing the LRA.

The most important thing about this resolution is not that it has earned the support of 46 Senators of both political parties nearly half the Senate. What is most important is that this resolution has earned the support of 215 citizen cosponsors, individual Americans who felt compelled to speak out against Joseph Kony and stand with the President and the international community in their work to bring Kony and his top lieutenants to justice.

In an unprecedented wave of grassroots engagement, thousands of young Americans were inspired to take action by a powerful video released earlier this year by Invisible Children, a California-based nonprofit organization. This video was viewed more than 100 million times in just under a week, making it the most viral video in history. Yet young people all over this country did more than just watch they took action. They called and wrote their elected officials, they posted on Facebook and Twitter, and their voices were heard.

Although many of us in the Senate have been working on issues related to Joseph Kony and the LRA for years, hearing directly from so many of our constituents has renewed our focus and our commitment. It has been decades since we have seen such intense engagement from young Americans on a humanitarian situation in Africa, making this a critical moment to recognize and sustain.

Mr. President, I ask that the Congressional Record reflect the names of each of the 215 Americans who have signed on to S. Res. 402 as citizen cosponsors and thank each of them for standing with members of Congress, the President, and the international community as we work toward bringing Joseph Kony and his top commanders to justice.


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