genConnect celebrates Women’s History Month this March. This month, we will highlight women making a difference in the lives of others and women’s accomplishments in certain industries, but also recognize needs and gaps that still exist.
U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is leading the charge in Congress against Ugandan terror leader Joseph Kony. The man is wanted by the International Criminal Court for numerous war crimes.
Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican representing Florida’s 18th Congressional District, a diverse area which includes Miami, Little Havana, Coral Gables, Pinecrest, Miami Beach, Westchester and the Florida Keys, was the first Hispanic woman to serve in Congress after being elected in 1989. She was a lead sponsor of the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which increases resources towards the prosecution of domestic violence, dating violence, and sexual assault, among other important pieces of legislation.
In her current position as chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Ros-Lehtinen is trying to hold Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), which have perpetrated unspeakable atrocities against civilian communities in Uganda and other Central African nations, accountable for his violence. The LRA is made up largely of children kidnapped by Kony and forced to carry out horrific acts of violence that no child should ever witness, let alone be a part of.
“Joseph Kony is an evil mass-murderer whose unspeakable crimes against innocent civilians, particularly children, span decades,” Ros-Lehtinen says. “The sole purpose of the Lord’s Resistance Army is to kill, maim, and cause suffering. It is responsible for widespread atrocities including mass murders, abductions, mutilations, and sexual enslavement, many of which are committed by children who were abducted and forced into the LRA’s ranks.”
Ros-Lehtinen is highlighting social media’s role in raising awareness about Kony and for the need for international community to rid Uganda of such brutality. She regularly uses Facebook and Twitter to voice her support to groups trying to bring attention to Kony and the violence he is wreaking in the region.
“Thx 2 twitter mvmnt calling attention 2 #Kony2012 & #LRA atrocities. H.Res.583 is step in right direction 2 stop him,” she recently Tweeted, referring to H. Res. 583, recently introduced in Congress to formally express support for “robust efforts by the United States to see Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, and his top commanders brought to justice and the group’s atrocities permanently ended.”
“Kony will go down in history as one of the most brutal human rights abusers the world has ever seen,” she says. “We must never give up on our efforts to hold him accountable for his unspeakable actions.”
Ros-Lehtinen also signed a letter in 2009 to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton expressing concerns about the atrocities being carried out by the LRA, and urging U.S. leadership to prevent further violence in Central Africa.
The Stop Kony2012 campaign has galvanized teenagers, social activists, actors and politicians. “Kony 2012,” a film produced by Invisible Children Inc., a San Diego-based nonprofit organization, focuses on the leader of LRA and has gone global since it surfaced on the Internet earlier this month. The 30-minute video has become the most viral in history, registering some 137.2 million views, and has literally caused the world to wake up and pay attention to what is happening in Uganda.
genConnect salutes Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and everyone helping to raise global awareness of the atrocities committed by Joseph Kony.
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