Update Report

Posted 13 November 2009
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Update Report No. 1: Northern Uganda and LRA-Affected Areas

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Expected Council Action
On 17 November UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Lynn Pascoe is expected to brief the Council on recent developments relating to the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Threats to civilians from the LRA actors have increased in the past months. Council members seem likely to want to discuss ways to address the problems.

Key Recent Developments
On 15 July, in informal consultations, theSecretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Lords Resistance Army-affected areas, Joaquim Chissano gave his last briefing to the Council. His mandate was suspended on 30 June. Chissano was appointed in December 2006.

Chissano recalled the Juba peace process signed in February 2008, which was intended to lead to the signing of a final overall peace accord involving the LRA and the Ugandan government. Military operations by Uganda and countries of the region against the LRA followed the failure of LRA leader Joseph Kony to sign the final peace agreement. However, these operations led to a dispersal of LRA elements and the emergence of LRA threats to civilians in new areas.

Chissano suggested:

  • continued support for the implementation of peace agreements, despite the challenges that remain;
  • need to address the reprisal attacks by the LRA on civilians in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Central African Republic (CAR) and southern Sudan;
  • collective engagement of the regional countries to tackle the dangers posed by the LRA is critical; and
  • pursuing peaceful reengagement with the LRA alongside military action.

Since Chissano briefed the Council in July, LRA attacks on civilians have increased in eastern DRC, CAR and southern Sudan. These have led to an increased number of Internally Displaced Persons and refugees. The report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict in Uganda published on 15 September stated that the LRA remains active in the region, as violence against civilians including killing, maiming of children, abductions, recruitment and sexual violence continues in the DRC, CAR and in southern Sudan.

The October report of the Secretary-General on the UN Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS) noted that the military operations against LRA had not stopped the LRA from abducting children in southern Sudan. The Secretary-General also stated that cross-border transfer of children escaping from the LRA is also a major challenge which will require close intergovernmental, intermission and inter-agency cooperation involving the governments in the region including Sudan, the DRC, Uganda and CAR.

In the September report of the Secretary-General on the DRC, he expressed concern at the impact of military operations against LRA on civilians who endure reprisal attacks. The Forces armées de la République démocratique du Congo (FARDC)-led operations against the LRA, Rudia II, supported by intelligence teams from the Uganda People’s Defense Forces, led to the dispersal of the LRA over three areas including west and east of Gramba National Park, and towards Ango territory. It seems that some elements of the LRA have been either killed of arrested. However, in June, July and August, the reprisal attacks of the LRA against civilians increased across Haut and Bas Uele.

The September report on children and armed conflict in Uganda highlighted efforts of the UN and country-level task forces in sharing information related to repatriation of children abducted by LRA to their countries of origin.

On 5 November Charles Arop, a senior LRA commander, surrendered in the DRC. Arop is believed to be behind a brutal attack of Christmas 2008 when fighters believed to be part of his unit attacked the town of Faradje (eastern DRC), which led to the killing and abduction of civilians and children.

Key Issues
The key issue for the Council arising from Pascoe’s briefing will be whether to take a more active posture on the issue, especially in light of its recent focus on the protection of civilians and the adoption on 11 November of resolution 1894.

A related issue is whether to take this up as a regional issue since LRA attacks affect many countries in the region. In this regard a question may be whether the Council should ask the UN missions in the region including the UN Organization Mission in the DRC, UNMIS and the UN Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad to coordinate in the protection of civilians from LRA threats, while implementing their specific mandates. 

A third issue is the concern, which NGOs are raising, focused mainly on the DRC Kimia II operations that the net effect of military operations is negative.

Options
Options include:

  • a statement after the briefing;
  • requesting the Secretary-General to develop a proposal for better cooperation between the UN missions and information sharing related to LRA; and
  • urging better cooperation among countries in the region in prioritising the need for protection of civilians in military operations undertaken against LRA.

Council Dynamics
Most Council members seem supportive of strong response against the LRA by regional countries. However, there are growing concerns about the fact that in some cases the military action has been counter productive.

UN Documents

Selected Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1894 (11 November 2009) was the latest resolution on protection of civilians in armed conflict.
  • S/RES/1856 (22 December 2008) extended MONUC’s mandate until 31 December 2009. It condemned the attacks by LRA in the Orientale Province of the DRC and demanded that LRA immediately stop recruiting and using children and release all children associated with it.
  • S/RES/1812 (30 April 2008), S/RES/1663 (24 March 2006) and S/RES/1653 (27 January 2006) requested reports on LRA issues from the Secretariat.

Selected Security Council Presidential Statements

  • S/PRST/2008/48 (22 December 2008) condemned Joseph Kony’s repeated failure to sign the Final Peace Agreement, strongly condemned the recent attacks by LRA in the DRC and southern Sudan, recalled the ICC arrest warrant for certain LRA leaders, welcomed the joint efforts made by countries in the region to address the security threat posed by LRA and welcomed the reestablishment of peace and security in northern Uganda.
  • S/PRST/2008/38 (21 October 2008) strongly condemned the attacks by the LRA in DRC and recalled the ICC indictments against members of the LRA leadership.
  • S/PRST/2007/6 (22 March 2007) welcomed the efforts of Special Envoy Chissano and emphasised support for a negotiated settlement to the conflict.

Selected Press Statements

  • SC/9633 (9 April 2009) expressed support for operations jointly planned and conducted by the Congolese army and MONUC against the Forces démocratiques de libération du Rwanda, the LRA and other armed groups.
  • SC/9576 (16 January 2009) strongly condemned attacks carried out by the LRA which resulted in over 500 dead.
  • SC/9167 (13 November 2007) conveyed the Council’s continued support for Special Envoy Chissano’s facilitation role and its views on the security and humanitarian situation in northern Uganda.

Selected Meeting Records

  • S/PV.6083 (17 February 2009) was a briefing by Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes on his visit from 6 to 10 February to the DRC.
  • S/PV.5415 (19 April 2006) was a briefing by the Ugandan government on the LRA.

Selected Secretary-General’s Reports

  • S/2009/545 (21 October 2009) was the latest report of the Secretary-General on UNMIS.
  • S/2009/472 (17 September 2009) was the latest report of the Secretary-General on the DRC.
  • S/2009/462 (15 September 2009) and S/2008/409 (23 June 2008) were reports of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict in Uganda.
  • S/2006/478 (29 June 2006) was a report on the LRA.

Other

  • S/2009/282 (29 May 2009) was the letter from the president of the Council thanking the Special Envoy for the LRA-Affected Areas, Joaquim Chissano, for his contribution to the northern Uganda peace process.
  • S/2009/281 (26 May 2009) was the letter from the Secretary-General to the Council regarding his decision to suspend the assignment of Chissano as of 30 June 2009.
  • S/2008/827 (29 December 2008) and S/2008/826 (23 December 2008) was an exchange of letters between the Council and the Secretary-General extending the mandate of the special envoy for LRA-affected areas for an additional year, until 31 December 2009.
  • S/2008/684 (3 November 2008) was a letter from the Secretary-General to the Council advising of the appointment of a Special Envoy for eastern DRC who would work in close coordination with Chissano.
  • A/63/346/Add.1 (22 September 2008) was the proposed resource requirements for the special political mission in 2009.
  • A/63/323 (22 August 2008) was the report of the ICC.
  • S/2008/414 (23 June 2008) was the report and recommendations of the chief mediator.
  • S/2007/720 (6 December 2007) and S/2007/719 (21 November 2007) was the exchange of letters between the Secretary-General and the Council extending the mandate of special envoy and upgrading its Liaison Office to a special political mission until 31 December 2008.
  • S/2006/930 (30 November 2006) was a Secretary-General’s letter informing the Council of Chissano’s appointment and mandate.
  • S/2006/861 (3 November 2006) and S/2006/944 (6 December 2006) contained the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement and its addendum.