Security Council Issues Presidential Statement Demanding Immediate End to Atrocities by Lord’s Resistance Army in Central Africa [S/PRST/17]
6796th Meeting (AM)
Members Hear Briefing by Special Representative Of Secretary-General, African Union Chair’s Special Envoy on LRA Issues
Demanding an immediate end to the atrocities perpetrated by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Central Africa, the Security Council today encouraged all Governments in the subregion to work together, through a recently launched regional initiative, to fight the scourge.
In a statement read out by Wang Min ( China), its President for June, the Council urged international support for the African Union-led Regional Cooperation Initiative officially launched in March 2012 against the LRA, which is notorious for kidnapping thousands of children and forcing them to become either soldiers or sex slaves.
Commending continuing efforts by the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Uganda to protect civilians from the group and apprehend its leaders, the Council welcomed the capture of senior LRA commander Caesar Acellam by the Uganda People’s Defence Forces in May 2012. It also called on all States to cooperate with the Ugandan authorities and the International Criminal Court in implementing the arrest warrants for Joseph Kony and two other senior LRA leaders on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including murder, rape and enlistment of children through abduction.
The Council stressed the need for continued coordination between peacekeeping missions, as well as humanitarian, development, gender, child-protection and military actors in the subregion in order to protect civilians from attacks by the LRA. It underlined the need for all military action against the group to be conducted in compliance with international humanitarian, human rights and refugee law. The Council also encouraged remaining LRA fighters to leave its ranks and participate in the disarmament, demobilization, reintegration and resettlement process for former fighters, citing the programmes of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) in that regard.
Preceding the issuance of the presidential statement, Council members heard a briefing by Abou Moussa, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) and Francisco Caetano Jose Madeira, Special Envoy of the Chairperson of the African Union on LRA Issues.
Mr. Moussa explained UNOCA’s coordinating role in the regional strategy, describing the latter’s aims, components and processes, as he presented the Secretary-General’s latest report on the Office and the fight against the LRA. “The strategy must only represent the beginning of vigorous attention by the Council to address the LRA issues in order to put an end to these atrocities once and for all,” he emphasized. Its success would depend on cooperation among all stakeholders and on the mobilization of resources to address funding gaps.
Mr. Madeira said that among the major objectives of the African Union-led initiative were to strengthen the capacity of LRA-affected countries to respond effectively to and neutralize the threat, to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the affected communities, and to create an environment conducive to the stabilization and rehabilitation of the affected areas. The objectives, particularly those relating to humanitarian assistance, civilian protection, disarmament and demobilization support for ex-combatants and the long-term recovery needs of affected persons, were in harmony with the goals of the United Nations system on the ground.
Calling for financial, material and logistical support for those efforts, he said that, in order to be effective, national operational units required concrete support in terms of training, harmonized communication systems, food rations, medical support, air and ground mobility, munitions, fuel, lubricants and other necessities. He called on the Council to follow the African Union’s lead and declare the LRA a terrorist organization, and to consider modalities for enhancing its support to African Union-led international efforts by adjusting the mandates of United Nations peacekeeping missions in LRA-affected countries.
Following those briefings, Council members acknowledged the continuing threat posed by the LRA, with many strongly condemning its brutality and welcoming regionally led efforts to eliminate the threat once and for all. They also expressed strong support for UNOCA’s coordinating role in that effort and in fostering Central African regional cooperation to face numerous other challenges, including piracy and the continuing negative impacts of the Libyan crisis.
“Mr. Kony and his band of barbarians must be neutralized,” said Central African Republic’s representative, describing the suffering that the group had wrought in his country. Pledging an untiring national fight against the LRA and welcoming the assistance from the United Nations, the United States, European countries, the African Union and many others in attempting to resolve the situation, he called for the further mobilization of the international community “to put an and to this affront to a civilized world”.
Also speaking today were representatives of the United Kingdom, South Africa, India, Morocco, Azerbaijan, Portugal, Germany, Togo, United States, Colombia, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Guatemala, France and China.
The meeting began at 9:50 a.m. and ended at 12:20 p.m.