Conciliation Resources and the Regional Civil Society Task Force, composed of civil society organisations, religious and traditional leaders from areas affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), welcome the development of a regional strategy to address the threat posed by the LRA. We urge that it must involve more than just a military approach.
This document is a contribution to the new strategy; we hope its content will support the development of a comprehensive approach combining political, mediation, security, humanitarian and developmental efforts.
This three-page document includes an Executive Summary comprised of:
- three comments on the overall Regional strategy to address the LRA threat
- a set of recommendations to the UN and AU
- a summary of inputs on the strategic goals and objectives (1 to 5 + VI) from the Draft strategy.
Detailed comments on the Strategic Objectives are contained in the Annex.
Our key points are:
- It is irresponsible to intensify military operations in the midst of a humanitarian crisis: Every actor involved in the LRA-affected areas – be they military, humanitarian or human rights actors – agrees they are unable to access most of the areas affected by the conflict. The delivery of aid is insufficient to respond to the needs of the population and the challenges are many.
- Intensifying the military operation will threaten the impact of the work done by the UN, civil society organisations (CSO), and international agencies and is likely to increase the distress of the population. The United Nations has been innovative and responsive in developing non-military responses to the conflict despite a very challenging environment. The child protection focal points, the radio network, DDRRR programmes among others have contributed to pave the way for a peaceful end to the conflict and the reinsertion of victims. However, lessons need to be learnt from the challenges faced by each of these programmes.
- A comprehensive strategy to address the threat posed by the LRA needs to be two-fold:
(a) A short-term strategy to ensure civilian protection, humanitarian access and the provision of services to the population.
(b) A mid-term strategy focused on political, development and peacebuilding engagement. The principal cause of the violence and civilian insecurity is the presence of the LRA. However, the LRA is not the only threat, and a comprehensive strategy needs to incorporate all the dimensions of the conflict: the incapacity of the States to fill the security vacuum, the political tensions between the countries in the region, which fuel insecurity and resentment, and create the conditions for LRA presence.