Today Abbe Benoit and Sister Angelique will have the opportunity to speak before Congress on “The continuing human rights crisis in LRA-affected areas.” The hearing, hosted by the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, is meant to assess continuing atrocities and gauge the impact of currently-deployed U.S. advisers in protecting civilians and disarming Joseph Kony and the LRA.
I spoke to Abbe Benoit and Sister Angelique yesterday afternoon, and they are very eager to speak directly to the people who have the influence to improve the security of LRA-affected areas of Central Africa. They have a packed schedule these next few weeks, but the exhaustion is well worth the opportunity to advocate on behalf of the people they work to protect: the victims, the orphans, and the widows of the Lord’s Resistance Army.
Sister Angelique plans to speak about the women she works with and the long term needs for the LRA-affected communities in terms of education, vocational training, psychosocial counseling, etc.
Abbe Benoit will speak to what the region needs most from the international community, i.e., communications infrastructure, human rights accountability for regional militaries, professionalization of regional militaries, etc.
Invisible Children will be posting updates via Twitter, Instagram, and the blog throughout the day, and soon Abbe Benoit and Sister Angelique’s testimonies will be available online. The hearing begins at 2:30 EDT, and should be streamed live. We’ll post the link once we get it. In the meantime, see below for the complete witness list for today hearing.
Our thanks to Reps. McGovern (D-MA) and Wolf (R-VA), for co-chairing this commission and making today’s testimony possible. We also appreciate Resolve for bringing the delegates to the U.S. and coordinating their entire schedule.
• The Honorable Earl Gast, Assistant Administrator for Africa, U.S. Agency for International Development
• Mr. Gregory Pollock, Director, South and East Africa, Office of the Secretary of Defense for Policy, Department of Defense
• Mr. Michael Poffenberger, Co-founder and Executive Director, The Resolve
• Father Benoit Kinalegu, President, Dungu-Doruma Diocesan Commission for Justice and Peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo
• Sister Angelique Namaika, Coordinator, Mama Bongisa, Democratic Republic of Congo
• Mr. John Prendergast, Co-founder, The Enough Project
Photo credit: Lisa Dougan, Resolve