DR Congo + 1 more

Weekly Roundup for Nov. 8-21: Protect civilians from brutal rebel attacks: Groups call for action to halt LRA raids

November 21st, 2008 by paul in: Main Site, Update from HQ

The Good: The UN Security Council yesterday authorized the deployment of an additional 3,000 peacekeepers to the DR Congo in an effort to boost embattled UN forces already there.

The Bad: LRA attacks in the DR Congo continued last weekend, diminishing hopes that LRA leader Joseph Kony would sign a final peace deal by the end of November.

The Ugly: A new UN report highlights an alarming decline in international humanitarian assistance for war-affected communities in northern Uganda.

Peace Process

Joseph Kony has yet to give a concrete indication that he intends to honor a deadline set by mediators to sign the Final Peace Agreement with the Ugandan government. DR Congo President Joseph Kabila has agreed to order his troops not to attack LRA rebels until the deadline passes at the end of November.

Regional Security

In addition to LRA attacks this weekend, new reports show that rebel raids on the town of Dungu in the DR Congo earlier this month were more severe than previously known. The rebels allegedly abducted over 150 people over the course of three days, including 80 children. Dungu remains virtually deserted, leaving schools closed and many people seeking refuge in the forest.

The lack of security in northeastern DR Congo due to LRA attacks has prevented humanitarian groups from effectively assisting the population, or even gauging the extent of the damage to communities there.

Situation in Northern Uganda

According to the latest UN humanitarian update, in the past month nearly 100,000 northern Ugandans have left displaced persons' camps and transit centers for their homes. However, basic services such as schools and health centers remain "out of reach" for most people returning home.

Access to education is particularly elusive for young girls. Nearly two boys are enrolled in primary school for every girl, and less than half of all young girls in the region are enrolled.

A new brief reveals that the Ugandan government continues to drag its feet in assisting northern Ugandans who over the past two decades fled the conflict to major urban centers such as Kampala, Uganda's capital.

Amnesty International released a report this week calling for more robust efforts by the Ugandan government to establish a reparations program to ensure that victims of two-decades of war in northern Uganda are justly compensated for their suffering.

International Response

The UN Security Council authorized the deployment of an additional 3,000 peacekeepers to the DR Congo, primarily to the volatile Kivus region in the east. However, experts warn that without additional reinforcements of European troops the new UN forces may be unable to quell violence in eastern DR Congo.

The UN reports that international donors are decreasing their humanitarian funding for war-affected communities in northern Uganda, frustrating peoples' struggle to return home and rebuild their lives.