LRA Affected Countries Issue Joint Statement

October 16, 2013 3:28 pm0 comments by:

Brussels- October 16, 2013

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Leaders of civil society organizations from countries affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) as well as Europe and the United States met in Brussels this week and issued a joint statement calling for urgent action to finally end LRA atrocities and support the recovery of affected communities.

It was the first time such a meeting is known to have taken place in the 27-year history of the LRA conflict.

“The LRA remains a critical situation in the region,” said Mgr. Marcel Utembi, Archbishop of Kisangani and one of the civil society leaders present. “In order to overcome this crisis, we need a coordinated approach from every actor in the region, and increased support to local organizations working to help those most affected.”

The joint statement acknowledges encouraging progress made in reducing LRA attacks in recent years, but notes concerning reports of increased killings in the Central African Republic, where political instability has provided new opportunities for the LRA to operate. More than 400,000 people remain displaced across three countries due to fear of the LRA’s brutal and unpredictable attacks.

“Although the LRA may seem a decreasing problem and although the broader situation in Central African Republic merits all possible attention, we should certainly not forget the LRA problem,” said Joost van Puijenbroek of IKV Pax Christi in Netherlands. “We have to continue and strengthen the strategies in place of the AU, UN and US to address the LRA issue. If we diminish our efforts now we give the LRA the space it needs to reconstitute itself. Extreme suffering of the population as in the past will intensify once again and all efforts risk having been in vain. The EU should increase its funding and political support for these strategies.”

After meeting to discuss the current situation and to draft the joint statement, the leaders presented their findings before the European Parliament, top European Union, United Nations, and African Union officials, as well as journalists, academics, and representatives from other international organizations.

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