March 28, 2010

III. Recommendations

To the Lord’s Resistance Army and Its Representatives

  • Immediately cease all attacks on civilians and other violations of international humanitarian law.
  • Immediately release all abducted children and adults.

To the Governments of DR Congo, Uganda, Central African Republic, and Southern Sudan

  • In coordination with UN missions in each country, promptly develop a comprehensive regional strategy to resolve the LRA threat, with a focus on civilian protection, rescuing abducted persons, apprehending LRA leaders wanted by the ICC, and facilitating the surrender of LRA combatants.
  • Make the protection of civilians and rescue of abducted persons a priority for any military operations against the LRA. Deploy troops and logistical support as necessary to protect civilian populations from LRA retaliatory attacks in areas most likely to be targeted or where LRA combatants are known to be operating.
  • In partnership with the private sector and international donors, urgently expand mobile phone communication networks to LRA-affected areas, especially in northern DRC and southeastern CAR, to ensure attacks on civilians are rapidly reported and to improve response time to such attacks.
  • Give priority to the rehabilitation of children captured or escaped from the LRA by promptly transferring them to UNICEF and appropriate local and international nongovernmental organizations.
  • Transfer to the International Criminal Court surrendered or captured LRA leaders who are sought under ICC arrest warrants.

To the Congolese Government and Armed Forces

  • Urgently establish mechanisms to implement the announced “zero tolerance” policy to end abuses by Congolese army soldiers during military operations, including those committed by the “Ours” battalion in Bangadi, and establish joint investigation teams with MONUC to investigate military abuses and hold those responsible to account, regardless of rank.
  • Improve/Provide communication equipment for soldiers operating in LRA-affected areas, including satellite phones and radios, to allow a rapid response for civilian protection.
  • To discourage looting and other abuses, ensure all soldiers receive a regular and adequate salary and food rations.
  • Consider establishing a special judicial mechanism within the Congolese civilian justice system, with Congolese and international judges, prosecutors, and other relevant experts, to investigate serious international crimes, including crimes committed by senior LRA leaders on Congolese territory who are not sought on arrest warrants by the International Criminal Court.

To the Ugandan Armed Forces

  • In countries where Ugandan forces are deployed, enhance coordination and detailed information-sharing with UN peacekeeping missions and national armies to improve protection for civilians at risk of LRA attack.
  • Deploy a liaison team to Dungu to regularly interact with the UN and Congolese forces based there.
  • Make the protection of civilians and rescue of abducted persons a priority for any military operations against the LRA

To the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and UN Peacekeeping Forces in the Region (UNMIS, MONUC, MINURCAT, UNAMID)

  • Under the leadership of the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, urgently establish an effective UN coordination mechanism for civilian protection in LRA-affected areas across the UN missions, including coordination with all relevant national armies. Prioritize improving coordination between MONUC and the Ugandan and Congolese armies.
  • Identify full-time personnel to act as focal points on LRA issues in each peacekeeping mission to regularly share information, plans for military operations, and civilian protection deployments. Coordinate these activities through DPKO headquarters in New York.
  • Urgently increase UN peacekeeping troops and UN civilian staff in LRA-affected areas, especially in Haut and Bas Uele (Congo), and in Haut-Mbomou (CAR), and urgently reassess the current deployment of the existing force strength to maximize the number of temporary field bases in northeastern Congo. 
  • Together with the governments of the region, organize a high-level conference to develop a comprehensive regional strategy to resolve the LRA threat.
  • Ensure that UN field base commanders in LRA-affected areas are supported by community liaison officers capable of facilitating regular communication with local authorities, traditional chiefs, civil society and displaced person representatives in their area of responsibility. Give special attention to threats to children and how to mitigate such risks.
  • Building on MONUC’s experience in North Kivu province, establish a “priority protection planning mechanism” for LRA-affected areas, and in other areas as appropriate, to identify and respond to threats where civilians are most at risk.
  • Increase the frequency of the deployment of “joint protection teams” to areas where civilians are most at risk and ensure the full implementation of their recommendations.
  • Increase the logistical support, including further aerial support, for the Congolese armed forces and other forces as necessary, to ensure rapid deployment of troops for the purpose of civilian protection. Ensure the full application of the UN’s human rights conditionality policy for support to national armies.
  • As part of a strategy to enhance protection of civilians, consider providing logistical and other types of support to mobile phone companies seeking to establish a mobile phone network in LRA-affected areas.
  • Support the establishment of community-run radio stations in LRA-affected areas to assist efforts to facilitate LRA combatants to surrender and to provide accurate and timely information to civilians about LRA attacks.
  • Assist the Congolese and Ugandan armed forces in setting up reception points for LRA defectors and abducted persons.
  • Create a demobilization program for non-Ugandan LRA combatants, and request UN member states to provide the necessary financial resources.
  • Deploy more human rights staff to LRA-affected areas to permit rapid documentation of abuses by all parties to the conflict and to allow for frequent and timely public reporting.

To the UN Security Council

  • Direct UN missions operating in Congo, Sudan and CAR, under the leadership of the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, to develop a comprehensive regional policy to resolve the human rights challenge posed by the LRA and enhance civilian protection.
  • Support a strategy to apprehend LRA commanders wanted by the ICC and others who have committed war crimes or crimes against humanity, taking all feasible precautions to minimize risk to civilians, and request member states to provide the necessary financial and operational resources.
  • Request regular briefings from relevant UN agencies and missions on LRA abuses.

To UNICEF and Other Child Protection Agencies

  • Urgently increase teams working in the countries affected by the LRA to document abductions and the mistreatment of children and set up programs to support tracing as well as psychosocial assistance, family reunification, and rehabilitation for those who have fled the LRA.
  • Ensure all funding gaps for implementation partners are urgently resolved and increase support to LRA-affected areas.

To the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict

  • Investigate and report on rape and other sexual violence committed against women and girls in LRA-affected areas. Call for a focused and coordinated cross-border response from UN agencies and UN peacekeeping missions to address sexual and gender based violence by the LRA and other armed forces operating in LRA-affected areas.

To the International Criminal Court Prosecutor

  • Investigate recent alleged crimes by the LRA in Congo, Central African Republic and southern Sudan with a view to expanding the charges for those LRA leaders already subject to ICC arrest warrants and to bring new charges against additional commanders responsible for attacks on civilians.

To International Donors, Concerned Governments, and Regional Bodies

  • Support the organization of a high-level international conference to develop a comprehensive regional strategy to resolve the LRA threat.
  • Provide UN peacekeeping missions in LRA-affected areas and national armies with the necessary logistical capacity (with a particular focus on helicopter support), intelligence, communications, and other resources to adequately protect civilians from LRA attacks, rescue abducted persons, and facilitate the surrender of LRA combatants.
  • Encourage capable UN member states to deploy a small, highly trained military unit to assist the peacekeeping missions and national armed forces in the apprehension of LRA leaders wanted by the ICC, taking all feasible precautions to minimize risk to civilians.
  • Cooperate with governments in the region and relevant peacekeeping missions to apprehend LRA leaders wanted by the ICC, taking all feasible precautions to minimize risk to civilians.
  • Consider providing financial support, such as through private/public partnerships, to urgently expand mobile phone communication networks to LRA-affected areas to ensure attacks on civilians are rapidly reported and to improve response time to such attacks.
  • Enhance emergency support to UN agencies and local and international nongovernmental organizations to assist the victims and the communities affected by LRA violence.

To the United States

  • Take strong leadership in coordination efforts to resolve the LRA threat by: (i) supporting the organization of a high-level international conference to develop a comprehensive strategy on resolving the LRA threat; (ii) developing an interagency framework, including with UN agencies, to enhance the response to threats to civilians; and (iii) developing a specific LRA mechanism, building on the Tripartite Plus Commission, with governments in the region and the UN DPKO, to enhance diplomatic and military responses to the LRA, and to help ensure apprehension of LRA commanders wanted by the ICC.
  • Continue to provide accurate and timely intelligence to UN peacekeeping missions and national armed forces operating in the region to enhance protection of civilians and strategies to apprehend LRA leaders.
  • Publicly condemn any abuses by national armed forces operating in LRA-affected areas and urge that those responsible are held to account.
  • Pass the LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act currently pending before Congress and ensure rapid and full implementation of its provisions.