Last week The ‘Invisible Children’ came to Sussex University a debate to promote their campaign for awareness of Civil Rights atrocities in Uganda. The group focuses on the ongoing Ugandan civil war and its use of abducted young children that are forced to fight for Joseph Kony’s Lords Resistance Army (LRA).
The organisation came to Sussex primarily to spread awareness and to rally support for their upcoming march. In 2006 an event known as ‘Global Night Commute’ was organised and co-ordinated by ‘Invisible Children’ aiming to show support for the cause. On April 29th over 80,000 people attended rallies in 130 cities in seven countries in what has been labelled the biggest public demonstration for Africa in US history. This event is to be replicated in April but with a march taking place in London as well.
Volunteer Jay Harvey, who contributed to the presentation, was glad for the publicity. Jay said the primary intentions of the organisation were to ‘raise awareness in the West’ and work for ‘development on the ground in Uganda’, primarily through ‘economic development and education systems.’ Jay also informed The Badger that the ‘Suubira Uganda Society’ will be ‘rallying as a society to bring people to upcoming events’ and that universities fund-raising and giving support were vital to their campaign, which is reliant on and targeted towards a younger audience.
When asked if she was surprised that many of those who attended the presentation had little or no knowledge to the extent of the problem in Northern Uganda Ms Harvey answered quite boldly ‘No’ before explaining that very little information about Uganda was provided through the mainstream media. The presentation was met with enthusiastic Sussex students who were keen to raise questions at the end of the presentation. Jay was very impressed by the ‘intelligent questions’ raised towards this ‘complicated issue.’
Joseph Kony is wanted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court (ICC) and has been using child soldiers to commit atrocities and genocide in northern Uganda for 20 years, making this the longest standing war in Africa. Children as young as 3 years old are often forced to flee their towns and villages at night and walk considerable distances in search of safety.