Invisible Children Brings Together More Than 10,000 Activists And Global Leaders To Stop Violence Against Children In Central Africa
WASHINGTON, Nov. 15, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Earlier this year, wanted war criminal Joseph Kony received worldwide attention when the documentary KONY 2012 became the fastest-growing viral video in history and sparked an outcry for Kony's arrest. Now, Invisible Children, the same organization that produced KONY 2012, is convening international leaders in The Global Summit on the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) on November 17 to address remaining gaps in efforts to end Kony's atrocities. Invisible Children hosts MOVE: DC's Global Summit as a continuation of the KONY 2012 story and the culmination of that year-long campaign. Over 10,000 young people from around the world are registered to attend. This historic event is the largest of its kind to be held in America for an African issue.
"Invisible Children continues to focus on advancing policy solutions to this deadly crisis while exposing today's youth to issues of global injustice. After KONY 2012, many leaders around the world responded by making renewed commitments to stop the LRA. As a result of this, progress has been made on the ground, but what is crucial at this point is addressing the serious gaps that still remain," said Ben Keesey, CEO of Invisible Children. "In hosting The Global Summit on the Lord's Resistance Army, Invisible Children is supporting a comprehensive plan to arrest Joseph Kony, stop the violence of the LRA and bring home the captive women and children."
The Global Summit on the LRA will be comprised of senior representatives invited from the ten governments and institutions with the highest stake in ending the LRA conflict, including the governments of Uganda, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Sudan, and the United States, as well as the African Union, European Union, United Nations, and International Criminal Court. Each representative will address contributions their government or institution is making and discuss remaining challenges.
Increased international efforts have led to a decline in LRA atrocities relative to recent years, but the group remains a potent threat. According to the LRA Crisis Tracker, the LRA has committed 253 attacks on civilians and abducted over 400 people – including 91 children – so far in 2012. In a single attack on the town of Bangassou, Central African Republic in September, the LRA abducted 49 people. The United Nations reports that LRA attacks have displaced over 440,000 people in Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, and South Sudan.
Recent reports suggest that Kony himself has taken refuge in an area controlled by Sudan, where pursuing forces cannot follow.
"While Kony's commanders continue to wreak havoc against civilians, evidence is piling up that Kony himself has fled to Sudan. Immediate steps should be taken to gain the cooperation of the Sudanese government, who have yet to show they are not sheltering him," said John Prendergast, co-founder of the Enough Project and a former White House official.
Resource gaps have also plagued ongoing efforts to track down the rebel leader, whose forces target civilians in remote and underdeveloped areas of central Africa.
"We are grateful for the steps the international community has taken, but our communities continue to suffer enormously," said Fr. Benoit Kinalegu, President of a Congolese Catholic Justice and Peace Commission. "Funds are urgently needed to build roads and communications networks to help people escape LRA attacks, and our governments must do more to provide protection."
The Global Summit will take place Saturday, November 17, 2012 from 9am-1pm at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington DC. For a list of participants and further details please visit http://invisiblechildren.com/movedc/.
ABOUT INVISIBLE CHILDREN
Invisible Children, founded in 2004, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to bring a permanent end to atrocities committed by Joseph Kony and his Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). Invisible Children focuses exclusively on the LRA conflict because the LRA has been abducting children and committing atrocities in East and Central Africa since 1987. Moreover, Invisible Children believes in the equal and inherent value of all human life. The Invisible Children model consists of four integrated program areas: media, mobilization, protection and recovery. For additional information please visit www.invisiblechildren.com.
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