WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, delivered the following remarks earlier today on the decades-long series of atrocities committed by Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Ros-Lehtinen expressed her support for current legislation before the U.S. House of Representatives designed to assist in bringing Kony and the top leaders of the LRA to justice. Additionally, Ros-Lehtinen commended her constituents’ efforts to raise awareness of Kony and the LRA’s horrific acts against the innocent.
Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
“I would like to begin by commending all the citizens and young students in my Congressional District and indeed throughout the country who have worked to raise awareness about Joseph Kony and his brutal crimes. Joseph Kony is a mass murderer whose campaign of violence against innocent civilians spans decades. The predatory forces doing his bidding, is known as the Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA, and they have perpetrated some of the worse human rights abuses of our time.
“Under the direction of Kony, the LRA has murdered, raped, mutilated, and abducted tens of thousands of innocent people, many of whom are children. They target remote villages, butchering civilians and abducting women and children to serve as sex slaves and fighters. Kony’s bloody reach now extends to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, and the newly formed Republic of South Sudan.
“One measure that we could accomplish would be for the UN peacekeeping missions in the region to more effectively coordinate their actions, share information related to Kony and the LRA, because this is a threat that crosses many international borders.
“I would like to thank Representative Ed Royce for introducing a new bill, H.R. 4077, which I proudly support. H.R. 4077 would authorize the Secretary of State to use the State Department’s “Rewards Program” to gain intelligence and strengthen the capacity of those who are actively engaged in fighting transnational organized crime,and also apply it to the search for Kony and LRA.
“This program has served as a valuable incentive for those with crucial information to come forward and help round up foreign nationals wanted for a range of brutal crimes and activities that threaten regional, global security and stability, and U.S. security interests. It will be an important tool in helping to bring Kony and his circle of thugs, the Lord’s Resistance Army, to justice.
“I would also like to thank Congressman Jim McGovern for introducing H. Res. 583, of which I am a proud cosponsor. Mr. McGovern’s resolution echoes current law and puts the House on record in strong support of U.S. efforts to counter the Lord’s Resistance Army. It urges the President to work closely with Congress to address critical gaps in U.S. strategy and to enhance U.S. support for regional measures already there to fight the Lord’s Resistance Army.
“As we have seen over the past 25 years, Kony’s assault on innocent lives has no limits. Now is the time to help bring Joseph Kony and his fellow criminals to justice. As a nation, let us ensure we have done all that we can to end this ongoing tragedy and hold this evil man accountable for all of his crimes.
“I thank all the young people throughout my district who have communicated through Twitter and Facebook and different modes of social media to express their outrage over Kony’s evil deeds. But now, let’s take action, let’s pass these bills.”