Just after 5pm yesterday [5/25/10], President Obama signed the LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act into law, and released a personal statement recognizing the “hundreds of thousands of Americans who have mobilized in response to this unique crisis of conscience.” In doing so he became the first U.S. President to publicly pledge that ending LRA violence and recovery for affected families across central Africa would be lasting priorities.
In a rare move of recognition for the nationwide movement that made this moment happen, the President invited our team and several of our partners to join him in the Oval Office for a ceremony as he signed the bill.
Together, we have just reached a historic summit. As we soak it in, we also recognize that a tough climb remains ahead. Joseph Kony and the LRA are still at large, and vulnerable communities across central Africa remain under attack. Overcoming decades of international neglect toward this crisis will take more than a single meeting — even with the President — or one piece of legislation alone.
But yesterday’s accomplishment provides concrete hope that change is possible. We now have an unprecedented chance to ensure President Obama uses this mandate to lead an international effort truly capable of ending LRA violence once and for all.
–From Resolve Uganda (https://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/2241/shop/custom.jsp?donate_page_KEY=6249)
14 year-old Wanda Msani
Just like any other national captain, Wanda Msani is dreaming of glory at the World Cup in South Africa.
But Wanda’s tournament kicked off on 15 March, three months earlier than the Fifa event and for the 14-year-old boy who lives on the streets, there was far more than just a game at stake. “When people walk past us, they look at us like we are dogs. They look down on us like we are not even people, just because we eat from bins,” he says, his eyes burning with anger. “They will see that we can be something.”
More than anything else, Wanda wants to make his father proud, hoping to be allowed to return home to the Umlazi township outside Durban, which he left five years ago, aged just nine. Since then, he has been on the streets – sleeping on pavements, under trees, park benches and alleys with only a cardboard box to offer warmth. “After my parents separated, my father started drinking all the time,” he says. “When he got drunk, he would beat me up so badly he wouldn’t stop. I knew I had to run away.” For Wanda and his team-mates, playing football offers an escape from their hellish lives of constant hunger, an absence of love, the threat of sexual abuse and in which sniffing glue is often the only comfort. But while they hope that football can change people’s perceptions about street kids, it has also brought a new danger to contend with.
The street kids say Durban’s municipal police are forcibly removing children at night and dumping them miles away from town. Some police reportedly use teargas to disorient the children and make them more submissive. City officials have always denied that this campaign is linked to its World Cup preparations or commented on the alleged abuses. They say the round-ups are driven by the need to curb crime in the city centre.
Workers at Umthombo, a charity which co-organised the Street Child World Cup, say they hope the tournament will remind law enforcement officers that the youngsters are not criminals but traumatised children who need greater care and empathy than many hard-handed officers show.
read more at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8567522.stm
Shine is planning two preliminary screenings of exclusive footage from THE HARVEST in Los Angeles in mid-June. We are excited to share some of the footage that Robin has brought back with our donors and supporters on the West Coast. Shine hopes to expand our donor base and add more members to our Board of Governors. We are looking forward to hearing reactions to never-before-seen footage of THE HARVEST! We’ll keep you posted!
In this 99-page report Human Rights Watch found that child farmworkers risked their safety, health, and education on commercial farms across the United States. For the report, Human Rights Watch interviewed 59 children under age 18 who had worked as farmworkers in 14 states in various regions of the United States.
To read the report visit http://www.hrw.org/node/90126
To read the press release visit http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2010/05/04/us-child-farmworkers-dangerous-lives.
To learn about facts visit http://www.hrw.org/support-care.