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Child Soldiers and KONY 2012

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

Joseph Kony, the alleged leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, has killed tens of thousands of innocent people and has enlisted child soldiers through cruel and violent means for over thirty years in more than three central African countries.

Kony has been indicted by the Chief Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, for twelve counts of crimes against humanity and twenty-one counts of war crimes. The charges levelled against Kony include: rape, inducing of rape, enlisting of children, enslavement, attack against a civilian population and murder, among others. Kony remains at large and his whereabouts are unknown, though he is believed to be either in Uganda or a neighboring country.

Cinema for Peace honored "Invisible Children" at the Justice Gala last December in New York for making this case public and enlisting hundreds of thousands of young people in the US to lobby for Kony’s arrest. Invisible Children started a week ago the viral video campaign "KONY 2012" which has been watched by 80 million people in one week, what could be a world record.

The goal of the campaign is to make Joseph Kony famous and to put pressure on governments and leaders to put into action a plan to arrest him and bring him to The Hague.

Cinema for Peace has worked on the issue of child soldiers since a few years. In 2010 we honored "Children of War" and screened this film at the United Nations General Assembly Hall in support of the UN Optional Protocol to the Convention of the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict. Cinema for Peace initiated a petition together with the three former child soldiers - Ishmael Beah, Emmanuel Jal and Kon Kelei - as well as Angelina Jolie, and UN Under Secretary General Radhika Coomaraswamy in The Hague during the Lubanga trial. In the petition, which has collected over 2,000 signatures as of this writing, we ask all UN member states to denounce the use of child soldiers and combat the use of sexual violence during wartime, as well as make efforts to ensure that schools and hospitals are not targeted during armed attacks. Cinema for Peace also monitors a ‘List of Shame’ with the United Nations in order to pressure those states that have not yet ratified the Optional Protocol to do so, and we send a selection of movies to the head of states and their responsible representatives, making clear that this a crime and that they will be prosecuted in The Hague if they do send children into armed conflict - same as Tomas Lubanga, who will receive the very first verdict of the ICC, for exactly this crime, this Wednesday.

Please watch the Trailer of the Day for:

KONY 2012

The viral campaign that’s gotten the world talking about Joseph Kony, with over 70 million views in just a week’s time

Invisible Children: Rough Cut

The 2006 documentary which later spawned the non-profit organization of the same name depicts the human rights abuses of the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda

Children of War

Filmed inside northern Uganda, this 2010 film is a unique and incandescent documentary which follows the story of a group of former child soldiers as they undergo a process of trauma therapy and healing while in a rehabilitation center

War Child

Emmanuel Jal, a former South Sudanese child soldier, grows up to become an internationally renowned hip-hop artist, incorporating his childhood traumas into his art (2008)