On June 29, 2012, the Security Council endorsed a regional strategy that aims to tackle the threat posed by the Ugandan rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), an armed group that has been causing mass displacement and suffering to civilians in South Sudan, the Central African Republic (CAR) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), in addition to Uganda for decades. Further, the Council issued a Presidential Statement calling for the strategy to be implemented and demanded the immediate end to atrocities committed by the LRA, including kidnapping children and forcing them to become either soldiers or sex slaves.
The strategy, developed by the UN Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), focuses on five key strategic objectives to address the threat from the LRA. The objectives are: (1) the full operationalization and implementation of the African Union regional cooperation initiative against the LRA; (2) the protection of civilians; (3) expanding current disarmament, demobilization, repatriation, resettlement and reintegration activities to cover all LRA-affected areas; (4) promote a coordinated humanitarian and child protection response in these areas; and (5) to support LRA-affected governments in the fields of peacebuilding, human rights, rule of law and development.
The development of a UN Regional Strategy was first mentioned in the Security Council Working Group’s June 2010 conclusions on Uganda. These conclusions were written in response to the grave violations against children reported in the Secretary-Generals 2009 report on Children and Armed Conflict in Uganda
On June 22, Council members had a more informal opportunity to discuss the LRA during an “Arria formula” meeting. The meeting, organized by Portugal and the United Kingdom, focused on the experience of LRA-affected communities in the DRC. Crisis Action along with partners Resolve, Human Rights Watch and others, facilitated a visit for two inspiring Congolese activists – Mr. Benoit Kinalegu, a priest from Dungu (DRC) and Ms. Angelique Namaika, also from Dungu, who has established a reintegration program for women and girls abducted by the LRA. The visitors briefed the Security Council on the impact of the LRA. All but one of the 15 Security Council members in attendance took the opportunity to ask them about their experiences.
Details on the LRA regional strategy, and the Presidential Statement, as well as general information on the United Nations system’s dealings with the LRA are available at the UN News LRA page.