Sunday, October 17, 2010

President Obama urged to help arrest Joseph Kony

Joseph Kony. Source: Voices [Education Project].
This weekend's THE WEEK IN RIGHTS, a weekly email from Human Rights Watch to all its supporters, contained many human rights-related articles including a compelling article by Kenneth Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch, urging President Obama to "get tough on human rights" and help arrest Joseph Kony.

Joseph Kony is the rebel leader and commander of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), a ruthless rebel group that has committed well-documented carnage and untold atrocities in the DR Congo, Uganda, Sudan and Central African Republic.

In Congo, the LRA perpetrates atrocities such as mass rape and rape as a weapon of war - making the country arguably the worst place to be a woman. For decades, the rebels, under the leadership of Joseph Kony, have mutilated, slaughtered, kidnapped and raped civilians with impunity.

In 2005, arrest warrants were issued by the International Criminal Court for Joseph  Kony and four other LRA commanders. They are wanted at the Hague on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Efforts have been made to bring the rebels to justice but they remain at large either due to inadequate resources or lack of political will to track them down.

Over the years, the United States has used force on "humanitarian grounds" in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, but it remains to be seen whether the super power will intervene and take action against the LRA -  a rebel group that is responsible for one of the world's greatest humanitarian crisis. An intervention to help arrest Kony and protect civilians in the region would be justifiable on humanitarian grounds.

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