End Congo And Uganda Genocide

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[Global: Africa Conflict]

The military offensive launched by Uganda, supposedly with the support of
Congolese and Sudanese forces against the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA)
in Garamba Park, Democratic Republic of Congo in recent days has
potential of further complicating and adding to the devastating
genocide in the Congo.

It can also spill into northern Uganda, where a protracted, orchestrated genocide
by President Yoweri Museveni's government has stalked Acholiland—without
the world's intervention—for over two decades and counting.

Of greatest concern are the potential casualties of Uganda's bombs:
captive women, children, youth and Congolese civilians caught in the
crossfire of UPDF's "Operation Lightning Thunder."

Yet another war is unneeded in a region plagued by death. A second
casualty is the relative peace that has prevailed in northern Uganda
since the start of peace talks in 2006. The dissolving peace, negated
by the attacks on the LRA, signals a dreaded return to insecurity.
Many fear that the military action will result in full-scale
resumption of the war.

Two months ago, Uganda was awarded a seat on the UN Security Council.
Ironically, Uganda's successful run for the seat was partly due to
international acclaim for its participation in the Juba peace
negotiations. The events of the last few days have shattered any myths
that the Ugandan government is pro-peace.

While the Garamba strikes have been considered a success by the
Ugandan government, it is unclear what the consequences will be,
especially since it has been reported that the strikes decimated empty
camps. The International Crisis Group's analysis of the attacks
suggest that the attack "is unlikely to have done much more than kill
women and children and make the peace process even more difficult."

Also suggesting that donors must: "… keep Kampala to its word and not,
as Washington has tended to do, take the increasingly undemocratic
Museveni at face value because of his anti-terrorism stance." Forcing
the LRA to fend for itself, without even basic food supplies invites
the use of the abhorrent survival tactics it has become notorious for.

Will the UPDF and its allies be able to spread its forces widely
enough to prevent excessive collateral casualties among Congolese
citizens as they pursue the LRA? Mozambican President Joachim
Chissano, (who has recommended continuing military action) and the
Ugandan government have claimed that the strikes against the LRA are
meant to drive its leader Joseph Kony to the negotiating table, but
the overwhelming use of force (four helicopter gunships, Mig23 fighter
jets) tells a different tale. Had the LRA camps been occupied, there
would have been massive loss of life, conceivably leaving no one
alive—hardly a carrot-and-stick measure.

Uganda's recent conduct may not be quite as shocking if one looks to a
December 2005 ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ),
which found Uganda liable for war crimes, levying a $10 billion dollar
fine. The East African reports: "In its ruling on December 19, the ICJ
said Uganda violated the principle of non-use of force in
international relations and the principle of non-intervention when it
occupied parts of Congo and supported Congolese rebel groups. The
court also found that Uganda's armed forces, "committed acts of
killing, torture and other forms of inhumane treatment on the
Congolese civilian population, destroyed villages and civilian
buildings, failed to distinguish between civilian and military targets
and to protect the civilian population in fighting with other
combatants as well as training child soldiers."

It is important to note that Uganda's occupation of eastern Congo
along with Rwanda in 1998—which has now resulted in at least 6 million
deaths—was initially sold to the world as a campaign to neutralize the
LRA, who had established sanctuary there. Instead, Uganda's occupation
of eastern Congo became an opportunity for unrestrained looting of the
Congo's mineral resources. State-sponsored terrorism, as in the case
of Uganda, must not be condoned.

The pattern of genocide and destruction that has followed Uganda's
President Yoweri Museveni has gone unchecked, largely due to the
support of the West. In particular, the United States and Britain have
allowed Museveni to literally get away with murder. Multi-national
interests have converged in the Congo to exploit its natural and
mineral resources. Essentially fighting for access to Congo's vast
wealth, each militia, backed by its sponsor-nation claims its

The re-entry of Uganda into the Congo may be a causative rather than
prescriptive factor. Enough blood has been spilled in the Congo.
Uganda media reports claim acting United Nations liaison in the peace
talks Joaquim Chissano, the UN peace keeping force in the DRC (MUNOC)
and Riek Machar, the Southern Sudan's vice president and erstwhile
mediator in the talks, have all formed an alliance with Museveni in
Uganda's military operation against the LRA. If these reports are
true—the Uganda government is superb in media spin—then it would mean
that the UN and individuals, all supposed to be neutral players, have
lost all credibility, just as has the International Criminal Court
(ICC), which has declined to investigate the Ugandan government's war
crimes and atrocities committed in the LRA-UPDF war.

The leadership of the UN, United States and Britain especially, must
withdraw support for the offensive and call upon President Yoweri
Museveni to:

1. Resume resolution of the conflict through peaceful means and return
to the negotiating table. 2. Honor the provisions of the Juba peace
agreement, which have been signed thus far. 3. Recall Ugandan troops
from the Democratic Republic of Congo. 4. Appeal to the LRA that in
spite of the strikes, the LRA's response should not be to resume
attacks on the civilian population.

Please visit: www.UgandaGenocide.info

Ask Uganda to Return to the Path of Peace!
Sign the Petition to President-elect Obama, Vice President-elect Biden
and UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon:

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/greatlakespeace (You have the option
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pass it on!)

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