Category Archives: Child Soldiers

Stop Joseph Kony – But Don’t Stop Thinking

Yesterday I posted “Stop Joseph Kony” in haste. Several friends asked me to say something. But I didn’t give the post the level of attention and due dilligence I should have. Today I’m making an attempt to correct my mistake.

“If the world knows who Joseph Kony is, it will unite to stop him.” It’s a compelling statementThis is part of the #KONY2012 campaign that has gone viral on Twitter and Facebook.  There’s a lot of truth to that statement. It’s amazing to me that it is taking the world community so long to take action against this man. But the story in Uganda is bigger than this Joseph Kony. And I’m certainly NOT the right person to help anyone fully understand the historical and political issues that make the conflict larger than the KONY 2012 video explains. I’m not Ugandan.

I’ve had links to Invisible Children on this blog for as long as I’ve been writing here. I’ve written about the plight child soldiers before. The first time five years ago in 2007. As always, it’s important to understand what our support is fueling, and how, and what our awareness accomplishes. I’m writing here again because I’m concerned with the lack of understanding about what might really be happening in Uganda right now, and where the money being raised by Invisible Children is being spent. Viral can be good, but not if it causes us to act without doing research.

Look at all sides of an issue. Here is a critical look at Invisible Children and the KONY 12 campaign. Doing nothing is not an option, certainly. But we need to make choices with as much information as we can get our hands on.

Here is more perspective, some from people on the ground in Uganda. I’ll be adding more links to this post as I find them. Read these, read what is available at Invisible Children, then decide for yourself how you will act.

Stop Joseph Kony

“If the world knows who Joseph Kony is, it will unite to stop him.” It’s amazing it is taking the world so long to take action against this man.

Help raise awareness of the evil that is Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army, a force whose soldiers are predominantly children stolen from their families.”When abducting the children, Kony and his army often killed their family and neighbors thus leaving the children with little choice but to fight for him.” Watch the video.

Then, decide where and how you’ll  pledge your support.

As always, it’s important to understand what your support is fueling, and how. Here is a critical look at Invisible Children and the KONY 12 campaign. Doing nothing is not an option. Make your choices with as much information as you can get your hands on.

Bush Signs Law on Child Soldiers (Human Rights Watch)

Human Rights watch is reporting that President Bush has signed the Child Soldiers Accountability Act. The act, which was introduced more than a year ago, makes it a federal crime to knowingly recruit or use soldiers under the age of 15 and gives the United States the right to prosecue anyone on US soil, even if the crime did not occur on US Soil.

“The US is saying to the world that using child soldiers is a serious crime and that it will take action,” said Jo Becker, children’s rights advocate for Human Rights Watch.

via Human Rights Watch, 3-10-2008.

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Support The Child Soldier Prevention Act of 2007

Little Indian recommend a site asking for a national call in to support The Child Soldier Prevention Act of 2007.

The day for that call has passed, but it is not too late to extend your support. Washington Watch states the latest major action was 4/24/2007. The full text of the Act (S. 1175) can be found here. The bill’s goal: “To end the use of child soldiers in hostilities around the world, and for other purposes.”

Here are a few excerpts of the congressional findings that prompted this bill.

    Congress makes the following findings:
    (1) According to the September 7, 2005, report to the General Assembly of the United Nations by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, `In the last decade, two million children have been killed in situations of armed conflict, while six million children have been permanently disabled or injured. Over 250,000 children continue to be exploited as child soldiers and tens of thousands of girls are being subjected to rape and other forms of sexual violence.’.
    (2) According to the Center for Emerging Threats and Opportunities (CETO), Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, `The Child Soldier Phenomenon has become a post-Cold War epidemic that has proliferated to every continent with the exception of Antarctica and Australia.’.
    (3) Many of the children currently serving in armed forces or paramilitaries were forcibly conscripted through kidnapping or coercion, a form of human trafficking, while others joined military units due to economic necessity, to avenge the loss of a family member, or for their own personal safety.
    (4) Some military and militia commanders force child soldiers to commit gruesome acts of ritual killings or torture, including acts of violence against other children.
    (5) Many female child soldiers face the additional psychological and physical horrors of rape and sexual abuse, enslavement for sexual purposes by militia commanders, and severe social stigma should they return home.

This bill would limit US military financing, training and arms transfers to governments that are involved in the recruitment and use of child soldiers. I don’t care what side of the political table you’re on, the use of child soldiers is not a republican or democrat issue. It’s a common sense human rights issue. Call your congressman in support of this bill.

Find your senators’ phone numbers at: www.senate.gov

Senators who have already co-sponsored the bill (as of July 2, 2007):
Bingaman (D-NM), Boxer (D-CA), Brownback (R-KS), Casey (D-PA), Coburn (R-OK), Cochran (R-MS), Durbin (D-IL), Feingold (D-WI), Feinstein (D-CA), Johnson (D-SD), Kerry (D-MA), Menendez (D-NJ), Mikulski (D-MD), Reed (D-RI), Roberts (R-KS), Snow (R-ME).

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