How do you bring transparency to human rights abuses in an area without a strong media presence? The LRA Crisis Tracker website demonstrates one way to do so - it uses information from various sources to create a real-time mapping platform that collects data about atrocities committed by the Lord's Resistance Army in Africa.
The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) is a militant group that operates in northern Uganda, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Central Africa. Since its formation in 1987, the group has been accused of widespread, and terrible, human rights violations, including murder, abduction, mutilation, sexual enslavement of women and children and forcing children to become soldiers.
According to UN estimates, 30,000 children have been abducted by the LRA so far, and the continuing actions of the so-called "army" are now characterized as "a war fought by children on children - minors make up almost 90% of the LRA's soldiers". Meanwhile, areas where the LRA operates are suffering from malnutrition and hunger, due in large part to the fear of attacks by soldiers.
Tracking the whereabouts and actions of the LRA is a difficult task, but the LRA Crisis Tracker, created by Invisible Children and Resolve, brings a whole new level of visibility to the region. The site gathers data from research reports by NGOs and the UN, news from open-source outlets, firsthand research, information from government agencies, and early warnings from civilian-controlled radio networks.
The ultimate goal of the Tracker is to encourage timely responses to LRA atrocities - the site was set up following the Makombo Massacre in December 2009, in which 321 civilians were killed. It took three months for the international community to learn of the massacre.
The Tracker keeps a running tally of civilian deaths and abductions, and displays the situation on the ground via an interactive map. Visit the site to learn more about the situation, and to find out how to donate to the Early Warning Radio Network: