Expected Council Action
In May, the Security Council expects a briefing on the Secretary-General’s report on the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and on the UN Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) by Abou Moussa, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of UNOCA.
A presidential or press statement are possible outcomes.
UNOCA’s mandate expires on 28 February 2014.
Key Recent Developments
Moussa last briefed the Council on 18 December 2012, stressing the need to mobilise sufficient resources to implement the UN regional strategy to address the threat posed by the LRA (S/PV.6891). The next day, the Council adopted a presidential statement reiterating its support for the AU Regional Cooperation Initiative against the LRA (AU RCI-LRA) and urged further progress towards the implementation of its strategy (S/PRST/2012/28). The statement also requested the Secretary-General to present an implementation plan to support the UN LRA strategy (S/2012/481) by 28 February. It further requested the Secretary-General to keep the Council informed on the activities of UNOCA and on the LRA via a single report by 15 May 2013.
The implementation plan for the strategy was submitted to the Council on 19 April (S/2013/240). It highlights priorities in five strategic areas of focus and specifies the division of labour and coordination between the various UN entities in implementing the strategy. It also identifies the resources needed for specific projects and programmes.
Additionally, the implementation plan recalls that LRA-affected countries have been contributing troops to the AU RCI-LRA’s military component, the Regional Task Force (RTF), to fulfil its authorised strength of 5,000 troops. In February the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) contributed 500 troops to the RTF, adding to the 2,860 deployed troops from the Central African Republic (CAR), South Sudan and Uganda. South Sudan has committed to provide 500 additional troops to the RTF.
According to media reports, after the Séléka rebels seized Bangui on 24 March, Uganda suspended its participation in the RTF, claiming that the rebels have been hostile towards its troops in southeast CAR. In a meeting with Moussa and AU Special Envoy for the LRA Francisco Madeira in Kampala on 3 April, Uganda clarified that its role in the RTF has not been altered by the coup. In a press statement on CAR on 29 April, Council members expressed concern over the pause of operations in CAR and urged countries to resume their efforts as soon as possible (SC/10993).
On 3 April the US announced a $5 million reward for information leading to the capture of LRA leader Joseph Kony, an International Criminal Court indictee.
LRA activities in South Sudan were taken off the list of parties to conflict that are credibly suspected of committing or being responsible for patterns of rape and other forms of sexual violence in the Secretary-General’s second report on sexual violence in conflict of 14 March (S/2013/149). LRA activities in the CAR and the DRC remain listed.
UNOCA, along with the UN Office for West Africa, has also been active in assisting the countries of Central and West Africa in addressing piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, in particular by assisting in the organisation of a regional summit for the development of an anti-piracy strategy, as requested by resolution 2039 of 29 February 2012. A ministerial conference was held on 19 March in Benin, where the Economic Community of Central African States, the Economic Community of West African States and the Gulf of Guinea Commission adopted three memoranda of understanding concerning the repression of piracy. The memoranda are to be adopted in a summit meeting to be held in Yaoundé, Cameroon on 17-18 May.
A key issue for the Council is to encourage progress in the implementation of the UN regional strategy and the role it can play in supporting UN and AU efforts to address the LRA threat and ensure a sustainable solution.
A related issue is obtaining updated information on the implementation of the AU RCI-LRA strategy and in particular the RTF.
Another issue is assessing how the 24 March seizure of power by the Séléka in the CAR may affect the regional strategy.
A broader future issue for the Council relates to the recent decision to create an intervention brigade charged with neutralising rebel groups as part of the UN Organization Stabilisation Mission in the DRC. The brigade will not be deployed in LRA-affected areas as of now, but it could be of future significance on this issue.
Options for the Council include adopting a presidential statement or issuing a press statement that could:
- welcome progress in implementing the AU RCI-LRA strategy and the deployment of the RTF;
- welcome the efforts of affected governments and urge them to continue their contributions to the RTF despite regional instability;
- express support for the UN LRA strategy implementation plan or request its further elaboration;
- request further reporting from the Secretary-General; and
- welcome the engagement of UN field missions in the implementation of the UN LRA strategy and request their continued support.
Council members generally support the UN LRA strategy and are keen to see how it will translate into reality during its implementation and what gaps exist. Areas of particular interest are the protection of civilians including regarding children; coordinated humanitarian assistance; the expansion of disarmament, demobilisation, repatriation, resettlement and reintegration programmes; and support in the fields of human rights, rule of law and development to establish state authority in the relevant areas.
Council members are in agreement on the importance of cooperation between countries in the region and of a coordinated approach in addressing the threat of the LRA. They will be keen to be updated by Moussa regarding the role of Uganda the RTF.
The UK is the penholder on the LRA.
|Security Council Resolution|
|29 February 2012 S/RES/2039||Welcomed the Secretary-General’s assessment mission on piracy in the Gulf of Guinea and called on states to implement its recommendations.|
|Security Council Presidential Statement|
|19 December 2012 S/PRST/2012/28||This presidential statement was on the LRA and requested an implementation plan for the UN Regional Strategy by 28 February 2013..|
|Security Council Press Statement|
|29 April 2013 SC/10993||This press statement on the pause of operations in CAR.|
|19 April 2013 S/2013/240||This was on the implementation of the UN LRA strategy.|
|14 March 2013 S/2013/149||This was the second annual report on sexual violence in conflict.|
|Security Council Letters|
|21 August 2012 S/2012/657||The Security Council noted the Secretary-General’s 13 August 2012 proposal for UNOCA and his recommendation to extend the office for 18 months.|
|13 August 2012 S/2012/656||The Secretary-General recommended extending UNOCA for a further 18 months.|
|25 June 2012 S/2012/481||This letter contained the UN regional strategy to address LRA activities.|
|Security Council Meeting Record|
|18 December 2012 S/PV.6891||Special Representative and head of UNOCA, Abou Moussa, briefed on his office’s activities and on LRA-affected areas.|