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International policy is ambiguous on whether or not to talk to non-state armed groups. But while states equivocate, local populations may already be in contact.
Ongwen capturé mais les luttes pour le pouvoir éclipsent le conflit de la LRA
L'année a commencé avec l'annonce de la reddition de Domininc Ongwen. C'est un considérable pas en avant dans les efforts en vue de mettre fin à la notoire Armée de résistance du Seigneur (LRA).
Cependant, la région se heurte à de nombreux défis sur le plan de la sécurité et de la situation politique, y compris la LRA, qui est encore active. Cette édition de Voix de Paix dévoile la réalité inquiétante de la région.
Ongwen captured but power struggles overshadow LRA conflict
The year has begun with the news of Dominic Ongwen’s surrender. This is a major step towards the end of the notorious Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).
However, the region is still facing grave security and political challenges, including the still active LRA. This edition of Voice of Peace exposes the troubling reality of the region.
Over 100 LRA captives released, but why?
In the last three months, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has released 120 long-term captives, mainly women (59) and children (58), in five separate waves in DRC and CAR. This remarkable shift in the LRA’s behaviour raises important questions about the reasons why and the way in which international and local actors should respond.
The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) continues to threaten the lives and livelihoods of thousands of civilians in the border areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic and South Sudan. Unpredictable attacks and the awful memory of past atrocities prevent local communities from pursuing their traditional means of subsistence. They struggle to cope with severe individual and collective trauma and to accept family members and neighbours whom the LRA kidnapped and forced to kill.
La recrudescence actuelle de la violence en République centrafricaine (RCA) n'est pas due au hasard : le pays subit depuis des années des crises cycliques et reste négligé par la communauté internationale. Depuis le coup d'État en mars 2013 par la coalition de Séléka, la situation en interne s’est empirée, avec l’effondrement complet de l’ordre public et des institutions, et une augmentation des tensions intercommunautaires et de la violence. Aujourd’hui, il est nécessaire de réagir rapidement afin de stabiliser la situation du pays et fournir une base de redressement.
The current upsurge in violence in the Central African Republic (CAR) has not come out of the blue - the country has suffered years of cyclical crises, as well as neglect by the international community. Since the March 2013 coup by the Seleka coalition the internal situation has escalated, with a complete breakdown of law, order and service delivery, and an increase in inter-communal tensions and violence. An urgent response is now needed to stabilise the country and provide a platform for recovery.
At a glance:
- Editorial Opinion: p.2 Focus on local organizations working for peace
- Protection committees: p.2 Community-level conflict resolution
- Regional situation report: p.3–4
- UNHCR Award: p.4 Sister Angélique
- Radio shows: p.5
- Border communities’ peacebuilding: p.6
- Regional Civil Society Task Force: p.6
- Reintegration therapy & interchurch peace committees: p.7
• Editorial opinion p.2
• Reinstatement of Uganda’s Amnesty Act p.2
• Regional situation report (continued) p.3
• DRC defections: missed opportunities p.4
• Six ways to escape from the LRA p.5
• Crisis in CAR continues p.6
• The decline of reception centres in Uganda p.7
• Making connections through training p.8
Uganda’s Amnesty Law 2
Crisis in CAR: eye witness 4
Returnee story 5
DRC troops & regional miliitary taskforce 6
M23 & LRA 6
CAR: Crisis continues 8
Global policy highlights the importance of women’s participation in peace processes and peacebuilding. Yet the impact of international commitments is not felt on the ground. Most peace agreements do not address the specific concerns of women. And women are still excluded from political processes.
In the East and Central Africa programme region, 2012 was a year of ups and downs, peaks and troughs of Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) activity. The year saw a rising tide of other problems such as explosions of conflict elsewhere, both in affected states and beyond.
The Lord’s Resistance Army thrives by causing terror to populations in Central African Republic (CAR), the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and South Sudan. They attack civilians and sustain their ranks through abductions and looted supplies.
Given this well practiced tactic, more than forty civil society leaders from the affected region urge that a clear way to stem the LRA’s power is to improve infrastructure and provision of basic services at a local level – protecting the vulnerable communities that are otherwise targeted.
Barney Afako is a Ugandan lawyer and expert on transitional justice. He works as a consultant on peace talks for civil society, the Ugandan Amnesty Commission and the government. He is a Trustee of Conciliation Resources.
Renewed military action against the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) risks triggering further devastation for local people in DR of Congo, Central African Republic, and South Sudan unless more is done to protect civilians and prevent retaliations by one of Africa’s most brutal rebel groups, ten local organisations and international agencies said today.
The 25 year-old Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) conflict has left a terrible legacy in Africa's Great Lakes region. Military action and local, national, regional and international diplomatic attempts to end this war have all failed. Although considerably weakened in recent times, the LRA continues to ruthlessly attack civilians in remote areas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Central African Republic (CAR) and Southern Sudan.
Twenty-four years of civil war between the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) and the Ugandan government has caused great suffering to people living in northern Uganda, southern Sudan and more recently, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Central African Republic.
Peace talks with from 2006 until 2008 offered the best hope for a settlement in recent times.
The destruction by the LRA conflict continues to escalate in the face of a stalled Peace process. The growing tendency to resort to military strategy tends to result in a backlash and increased attack by LRA on the civilian communities. Yet the staggering humanitarian crisis unfolding as a result is not being adequately addressed.
There is an urgent need to find a sustainable solution to the conflict and address its consequences.
In places emerging from conflict, trade offers opportunities to revitalize a region, re-establish relationships and build new links between communities estranged by violence. This study explores how trade policy and practice along the Uganda-Sudan border is contributing to peacebuilding and socio-economic recovery in the region - and in some cases is exacerbating or creating tensions that require careful management.