Contribution | Rewards for Justice

20 February 2013 | Lisa Dougan

Lisa Dougan is Director of Civil Engagement at Invisible Children, previously she worked as Director of Field Outreach at Resolve.

She responded to Michael Poffenburger’s¬†contribution to¬†our recent blog about Rewards for Justice:

 

Implementation of RFJ
As Michael mentioned in his notes, we see the passage of the new RfJ expansion legislation to be an encouraging sign of the US’s engagement on issues of international justice, but the details of implementation for RfJ in central Africa are not yet clear. In the past, we’ve seen that the State Department will tailor the program for specific contexts, taking into account myriad factors. Implementation of RfJ will look very different in LRA-affected areas from other contexts (like locating Rwandan genocidaires hiding in Europe, etc).

Part of the implementation will likely include some kind of sensitization for the local communities (currently-affected areas and northern Uganda), in the case that a recipient of the reward is an LRA defector who then return homes with a substantial amount of money. So far, we’ve seen some very encouraging work by the U.S. advisors engaging with the local community and civil society leadership in LRA-affected areas, so we’re hopeful that the implementation of RfJ will be done thoughtfully and with proper sensitivity to local communities — but we of course want to keep monitoring that and weighing in as much as we can.

Other approaches to arresting Kony/Top Commanders & ending LRA violence
RfJ is just one tool amongst several tools/approaches to help bring an end to LRA violence. In the same lobby meetings in which our activists pushed for the passage of the RfJ expansion legislation, we also lobbied for increased U.S. funds to go toward civilian responses to the LRA (ie. early warning radio/cellular networks, rehabilitation efforts, and programs to encourage LRA defections like radios for come-home messaging and safe-reporting sites). We’ve continued to urge the US government to put pressure on regional governments, namely Congo, to acknowledge the impact of the LRA on its citizens and to help make sure these communities are protected. Additionally, we’ve lobbied for increased tactical and mobility support to the US advisor mission to help strengthen their efforts to locate and arrest Kony and to protect civilians. And as always, we’ve continued to highlight with policymakers that Kony and the LRA exploit areas with poor governance and weak infrastructure, so these issues must be addressed as well. More specifically, we’ve been trying to secure funding — whether it be from the US or another donor nation — to repair a main stretch of road in Central African Republic that is in terrible condition and has prevented the movement of adequate humanitarian relief and military protection into areas affected by LRA violence.

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