Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Resolve, Uganda: US President Obama's strategy on the LRA

FOR the record, here is a copy of an email received today from Paul Ronan, Director of Advocacy, Resolve (formerly Resolve Uganda), followed by a copy of a blog post and tweet published today by Sam Bell, Executive Director of the newly merged Save Darfur Coalition / Genocide Intervention Network.
Please find attached President Obama's strategy on the Lord's Resistance Army, released on November 24th. Section 4 of the LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act, which passed US Congress in May, mandated that President Obama develop “a strategy to guide future United States support across the region for viable multilateral efforts to mitigate and eliminate the threat to civilians and regional stability posed by the Lord’s Resistance Army.”

Below please find highlights and a brief breakdown of the strategy, including actions listed as priorities for implementation. We look forward to being in touch in the coming weeks with deeper analysis of the strategy and next steps for implementation. Two likely challenges to implementation will be securing adequate funding from Congress and the current lack of a senior LRA point person within State Department. Also attached is a press roundup of media coverage of the strategy release.

Best,

Paul

Director of Advocacy

Resolve (formerly Resolve Uganda)


Vision: “Though the challenge is complex, the vision remains simple: people in central Africa are free from the threat of LRA violence and have the freedom to pursue their livelihoods."

Purpose: The strategy does not contain much detail about specific action steps, instead providing an "overarching, comprehensive strategy direction over several years to... increase the likelihood of success in mitigating and eliminating the threat posed by the LRA." (Upcoming Congressional decisions on levels of funding will help determine how robustly the strategy is implemented and hence specific action steps.)

Four main objectives (and summary of sub-objectives):

1. Increase protection of civilians

- Improve sharing of information for understanding threats and vulnerabilities of civilian population as a result of LRA presence, and for supporting and developing effective protection strategies and interventions.

- Promote the increase in physical security of vulnerable civilian populations through the presence and action of protection actors.

- Strengthen the understanding of the LRA threat and the will and capabilities of key actors to support efforts to protect civilians and prevent and mitigate LRA attacks.


2. Apprehend or remove from the battlefield Joseph Kony and senior LRA commanders

- Provide enhanced integrated logistical, operational, and intelligence assistance in support of regional and multilateral partners.

- Enhance and sustain diplomatic efforts to coordinate and encourage support for multilateral and regional military forces in their efforts to counter the LRA and to deny any potential support to the LRA from outside actors.


3. Promote the defection, disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration of remaining LRA fighters

- Ensure continued multilateral support to efforts to promote defections of LRA fighters and non-combatants through radio programs, leaflets, and other communication.

- Work with regional governments, MONUSCO, and other international actors to ensure necessary facilities and procedures are in place to receive defectors and transport them to desired home locations.

- Support the provision of enhanced medical, social, and economic reintegration assistance to demobilized LRA members and receiving communities.


4. Increase humanitarian access and provide continued relief to affected communities

- Humanitarian agencies provide minimum standards of life-saving support to LRA-affected populations.

- Promote increased access and infrastructure for the delivery of humanitarian services.

- Humanitarian agencies support early recovery activities, including transition support and livelihood support for LRA-affected populations.


Priority actions for immediate implementation

Increase physical access and telecommunications
- including road and airstrip rehabilitation and telecommunications expansion, with focus on LRA-affected areas of CAR and DRC

Increase mobility and access of civilian protection actors in LRA-affected areas
- mentions need to increase mobility of "humanitarian and civilian protection partners, including peacekeeping missions"

Enhance coordination of civilian actors and sharing of information across borders

Enhance the coordination and collaboration of forces in LRA-affected areas
- mentions need for coordination between national militaries and peacekeeping missions

Increase opportunities for LRA fighters and associated persons to safely defect and escape

Multilateral engagement

- The strategy mentions the October AU conference on the LRA in Bangui and "applauds AU engagement and regional leadership and coordination to address the LRA threat"

- The strategy highlights three priorities for US engagement at the UN Security Council as, 1. ensuring relevant peacekeeping missions are "resourced appropriately to fulfill their mandates," 2. encourage the UN political office for Central Africa to strengthen regional and international cooperation on the LRA, and 3. support the deployment of UN humanitarian staff to LRA-affected areas.

- The strategy also states an intention to continue engagement with the Office of the EU Special Representative, the World Bank's TDRP-led LRA working group, and the Great Lakes Contact Group.

- The strategy says "Any effective strategy cannot exclusively rely on one military force..." It also acknowledges that there is no guarantee Ugandan military operations against the LRA will continue and highlights the necessity of developing broader support and capacity among regional and international actors to address the crisis (though few specific details are provided).

Other notes of importance

- The strategy acknowledges that “there is no purely military solution to the LRA threat and impact.”

- The strategy highlights that additional support to the UPDF for LRA operations will happen in parallel with efforts to encourage professionalization of the UPDF and diplomatic efforts to encourage the Ugandan government and UPDF to respect human rights, democracy and good governance in Uganda.

- The strategy mentions that "local outreach" is an important component of pursuing the strategy's objectives, but does not provide detail on how this will be done.

- The strategy also outlines continued US efforts to promote comprehensive reconstruction, transitional justice, and reconciliation in northern Uganda (see annex 3).

--
Paul Ronan
Director of Advocacy
Resolve (formerly Resolve Uganda)

m: +1 315.569.8051.
o: +1 202.596.2517.
www.theresolve.org
Copy of attachment:

Press roundup for US LRA strategy release

Uganda’s dangerous rebels: Lords of woe – Economist – November 11, 2010 HYPERLINK "http://www.economist.com/node/17472814" http://www.economist.com/node/17472814

HYPERLINK "http://www.capitalfm.co.ke/news/Africa/Uganda-welcomes-US-LRA-plan-10646.html" \t "_blank" Uganda welcomes US LRA plan - Capital FM - Nov 26, 2010 BY AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE KAMPALA, Nov 26

HYPERLINK "http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gBDRRHXVuzY1JDiH8RjWVEpyOwjA?docId=CNG.8a715e6abb8e8888f916a64a424e6b92.1131" \t "_blank" Obama urged to press ahead with disarming Uganda rebels - AFP - Nov 25, 2010 KINSHASA

HYPERLINK "http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/8/13/739330" \t "_blank" USA to disarm Joseph Kony rebels - New Vision - Nov 25, 2010, By Barbara Among

HYPERLINK "http://www.voanews.com/english/news/africa/Obama-Presents-Plan-to-Help-Disarm-LRA-in-Uganda-110613824.html" \t "_blank" Obama Presents Plan to Help Disarm LRA in Uganda - Voice of America - Nov 25, 2010, AP

HYPERLINK "http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/nov/25/us-plan-disarm-rebels-central-africa" \t "_blank" US reveals strategy to disarm central Africa rebels - The Guardian - Nov 25, 2010

HYPERLINK "http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/int/news/-/news/world-africa-11837310" \t "_blank" Obama plan to fight Africa rebels - BBC News - Nov 25, 2010

HYPERLINK "http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-11-25/obama-administration-asks-fpr-funds-to-boost-uganda-s-fight-against-rebels.html" \t "_blank" Obama Administration Asks for Funds to Boost Uganda's Fight Against Rebels - Bloomberg - HYPERLINK "http://news.google.com/news/search?pz=1&cf=all&ned=us&hl=en&q=author:%22Michael+J.+Kavanagh%22&scoring=n" \t "_blank" Michael J. Kavanagh - Nov 25, 2010

HYPERLINK "http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2010/11/president-barack-obama-outlined-a.html" \t "_blank" President Obama Releases Plan to End Rebel Violence in Uganda - NewsHour - HYPERLINK "http://news.google.com/news/search?pz=1&cf=all&ned=us&hl=en&q=author:%22Talea+Miller%22&scoring=n" \t "_blank" Talea Miller - Nov 25, 2010

HYPERLINK "http://www.stripes.com/news/africa/obama-calls-for-four-pronged-effort-to-defeat-african-rebel-group-1.126439" \t "_blank" Obama calls for four-pronged effort to defeat African rebel group - Stars and Stripes - HYPERLINK "http://news.google.com/news/search?pz=1&cf=all&ned=us&hl=en&q=author:%22John+Vandiver%22&scoring=n" \t "_blank" John Vandiver - Nov 25, 2010

HYPERLINK "http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-11837310%20" \t "_blank" Barack Obama's Plan to Defeat Ugandan LRA Rebels - BBC, Nov 25, 2010

HYPERLINK "http://www.jeuneafrique.com/depeche_afp_20101125T185757Z20101125T185752Z_des-ong-demandent-l-application-urgente-du-plan-obama-contre-la-lra.html" \t "_blank" Des ONG demandent l'application "urgente" du plan Obama contre la LRA - AFP - Nov 25, 2010

HYPERLINK "http://www.observer.ug/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=11124&Itemid=59" \t "_blank" Kony's Plan Too Late, Says UPDF - The Observer, Written by David Tash Lumu & Agencies, Sunday, 28 November 2010 18:03

HYPERLINK "http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/africa/101127/obama-launches-plan-against-africas-lords-resistance-army" \t "_blank" Obama takes aim at Africa's Lord's Resistance Army - The Global Post, by Tristan McConnell, 29 November, 2010

Rights groups urge Obama to act against LRA - Radio Netherlands Worldwide – November 30, 2010 HYPERLINK "http://www.rnw.nl/international-justice/article/rights-groups-urge-obama-act-against-lra" http://www.rnw.nl/international-justice/article/rights-groups-urge-obama-act-against-lra

BBC Newshour radio: HYPERLINK "http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/p00byy0r/Newshour_24_11_2010_(2100_GMT)" \t "_blank" http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/p00byy0r/Newshour_24_11_2010_(2100_GMT)

President Obama’s move on Kony encouraging (New Vision – EDITORIAL) - HYPERLINK "http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/8/14/739559" \t "_blank" http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/8/14/739559

Boys to men as Sudanese villagers take on Lord's Resistance Army (Sydney Morning Herald) HYPERLINK "http://www.smh.com.au/world/boys-to-men-as-sudanese-villagers-take-on-lords-resistance-army-20101126-18alb.html" \t "_blank" www.smh.com.au/world/boys-to-men-as-sudanese-villagers-take-on-lords-resistance-army-20101126-18alb.html

Obama calls for elimination of Uganda’s rebel group - International Business Times HYPERLINK "http://hken.ibtimes.com/articles/85736/20101125/joseph-kony-obama-uganda-lord-s-resistance-army-acholi-community-international-criminal-court-lra.htm" http://hken.ibtimes.com/articles/85736/20101125/joseph-kony-obama-uganda-lord-s-resistance-army-acholi-community-international-criminal-court-lra.htm

Obama presents Congress plans to disarm Uganda’s LRA rebels – RTT News - HYPERLINK "http://www.rttnews.com/Content/Policy.aspx?Id=1490257&SM=1" http://www.rttnews.com/Content/Policy.aspx?Id=1490257&SM=1

Obama unveils plan for LRA - Legalbrief – November 30, 2010 - HYPERLINK "http://www.legalbrief.co.za/article.php?story=201011301129442" http://www.legalbrief.co.za/article.php?story=201011301129442


- - -

Related Report

Lords Resistance Army in Darfur
Source: Save Darfur Coalition's Blog for Darfur - http://blogfordarfur.org/archives/6255
Date: Wednesday, 01 December 2010
Author: Sam Bell, Executive Director, Save Darfur Coalition / Genocide Intervention Network
Copy in full:

Yesterday the UN Group of Experts for the Democratic Republic of Congo released a report which included evidence echoing the findings of many of our partner organizations – the Lords Resistance Army (LRA), an organization on the State Department’s Terrorist Exclusion List, was recently in Darfur and may still be there. Moreover, the Group of Experts’ report has details about contacts between the LRA and the Government of Sudan:
“The Group sought to verify reports from MONUSCO and the Ugandan authorities of contacts between an LRA delegation and Sudanese armed forces officers on the Central African Republic/Sudan border in October 2010. According to two eyewitnesses interviewed by the Group, the purpose of the LRA mission was to re-establish relations with the Sudanese authorities and to request assistance, including safe passage and political asylum for Joseph Kony. This mission, led by Kony’s chief bodyguard, Otto Agweny, reached the Sudanese military base at Am Dafok (near the Central African Republic/Sudan border) on 4 October, staying in the area until 9 October. In Am Dafok the group met with Sudanese armed forces commanders, including a Lieutenant Colonel who presented himself as an intelligence officer from Khartoum and an officer who presented himself as the Sudanese armed forces commander of the western region.

The Group understands that this meeting was the result of an initiative of LRA and not the Sudanese authorities. According to the eyewitnesses, no decision was reached, but the Sudanese armed forces reportedly provided the LRA delegation with their mobile and satellite phone numbers to facilitate future contacts with Kony. The Group requested information from the Sudanese authorities on the content of this meeting, but has not received a reply to its letter of 23 July. The Group will continue to seek the assistance of Member States to investigate individuals who may be supporting LRA from other countries.”
As I wrote two weeks ago, before de-listing Sudan from the State Sponsors of Terrorism List the Obama Administration must investigate links between Khartoum and the LRA, which is even more essential in light of the evidence that the Sudanese armed forces have met with LRA officials. The LRA is responsible for terrorizing civilians throughout central Africa and in 2008 its leader Joseph Kony was listed as “a Specially Designated Global Terrorist” by an Executive Order. In addition, the International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants for Kony and several members of the LRA senior leadership for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

[Hat tip: Sam Bell's tweet posted on Twitter Wednesday, 01 December 2010. Copy in full:
new details on #LRA in #Darfur http://t.co/csvkPxF US shouldn't remove #Sudan from terror list til Kht-LRA ties investigated
about 6 hours ago via web
sam_a_bell
Sam Bell]

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