Invisible Children, the human rights group behind the “Kony 2012” video, announced Monday that it is shutting down its San Diego headquarters and winding down its operations.
The group, founded in 2004 and best known for its 2012 viral video about the atrocities of African warlord Joseph Kony, said that for financial reasons, it is cutting most of its U.S. operations at year-end and preparing to hand off its Uganda operations to partners in the region.
The group is still trying to raise money to continue what it called its “most essential programs” for the next year, which it said includes work on Capitol Hill and the handoff in Africa.
Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA, has kidnapped children and turned them into sex slaves and child soldiers for more than a quarter of a century.
After the release of the 2012 video, an array of critics assailed Invisible Children for making imprecise and exaggerated claims about human rights violations by Kony’s militia in Central Africa. Others credited the organization with bringing world attention to atrocities that had gone unchecked.
The group did have an effect. Weeks after “Kony 2012” hit YouTube, the African Union, with backing from the United States, put together a military force to hunt down Kony. The International Criminal Court had indicted the warlord in 2005 on war crimes charges.
Kony has evaded capture, but the LRA’s power has weakened considerably.
“The number of people displaced by the LRA has dropped to less than 135,000, significantly down from the 1.8 million displaced at the height of the conflict,” Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said Wednesday in a statement.
Still, Power said, the LRA remains a threat, and the U.S. is “deeply concerned” about its activities along the Sudan-South Sudan border.
Times staff writer James Rainey contributed to this report.
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