Abbé Benoît Kinalegu, 2012 Human Rights Watch Defender
Ida Sawyer, Africa Researcher and Advocate, Human Rights Watch
For more than 25 years the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has terrorized large swaths of Central Africa, roaming between at least four African nations with impunity. While multinational efforts have been made to stop the group and its infamous leader Joseph Kony, the communities of the Eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo are left to deal with the effects.
As head of the Catholic Church’s Peace and Justice Commission in northern Congo, Abbé Benoît Kinalegu helped to create an early warning network in which local activists report LRA attacks and movements, as well as set up a rehabilitation center to help children who have escaped the LRA. Kinalegu will be joined by Human Rights Watch Africa Researcher Ida Sawyer for a conversation about the challenges of working in the Eastern Congo, and how NGOs and local communities are working to stop human rights abuses and heal a traumatized region.
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