Raise the Respect, a global outreach group on campus, is making an effort today to raise awareness as well as provide a forum for students to participate in “Peace within Reach: National Northern Uganda Lobby Day” in order to help curb conflict in that region.

From 10 to 11 a.m. in the University Union Plaza, Raise the Respect, a group dedicated to educating students about violations of human rights and other injustice happening globally, will be present to encourage students to take part in a national effort to persuade the U.S. government to help end the civil war that has plagued northern Uganda for more than 20 years.

“We need students to step up to the plate and not give in to the mentality of deference of responsibility because we have the power to end conflict in Uganda,” said Jacqueline Chan, microbiology junior and co-director for Raise the Respect.

In support of National Uganda Lobby Day, a two-day campaign being conducted in Washington D.C. this week, Raise the Respect will be inviting students to take part in an all-day telethon and letter writing campaign to urge the U.S. government to take a greater roll in conducting peace talks as well as providing funds for reconstruction and reconciliation efforts in Uganda.

Considered to be “the world’s most neglected humanitarian crisis” by Jan Engeland, U.N. under-secretary general of Humanitarian Affairs, the civil war between the Uganda government and the resistance group known as the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) has led to the abduction of over 20,000 children by the LRA to be used as soldiers and sex slaves.

In addition, over 90 percent of the Acholi people (a tribe in northern Uganda) have been displaced in camps that offer no security or basic provisions, according to www.ugandalobbyday.com.

“What we hope to do is give students the initiative to help the people of Uganda but also to show them that they can take actions to help people all over the world,” Chan said.

In addition to supporting the efforts to aid Uganda, Raise the Respect has several other projects ahead that aim to give support to those, globally, who are in dire need of aid and have otherwise been neglected by the rest of the world, Chan said.

Though the primary focus of today’s campaign is the plight of Uganda, Raise the Respect will also be providing information in the UU Plaza about other causes that students can take part in such as the Student Global AIDS Campaign and the Coalition for Darfur.

“Our goal is to not only to raise awareness about several injustices around the world, but to also provide a forum where students can present different issues that they feel they can help change for the better. We’re here to help any student pursue that goal,” Chan said.

For more information about National Uganda Lobby Day and other Raise the Respect projects, representatives can be reached in the UU Plaza booth today or at www.raisetherespect@yahoo.com.

Though the location is not yet disclosed, Raise the Respect will also be having weekly campus meetings on Tuesdays.

In support of National Northern Uganda Lobby Day, Raise the Respect asks that you please call the Capital Switchboard at 202-224-3121 to connect with your representatives to ask for sustained leadership to end the war in Uganda.

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