On Friday, Human Rights Watch wrote about the recent surge in LRA activity–53 attacks between January and March. The article recounts interviews with recent LRA abductees and calls for immediate action to protect civilians and disarm the Lord’s Resistance Army. The article includes specific recommendations for the 100 U.S. advisory troops currently stationed in the region.
“The increase in LRA attacks shows that the rebel group is not a spent force and remains a serious threat to civilians,” said Anneke Van Woudenberg, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The African Union, United Nations, and governments in the region should take urgent steps to implement comprehensive civilian protection measures and put real muscle into making them work.”
A day before this article was published, civil society, human rights and religious groups from the currently-affected regions of CAR and DR Congo released a letter that very clearly calls for international support and solidarity with the communities in Central Africa that are threatened by the LRA.
The letter commends the existing efforts of regional players and calls on the international community to continue to make stopping Joseph Kony and the LRA a top priority. The letter begins this way:
We, civil society organizations of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic, call on African governments, the African Union, the United Nations, human rights defenders, and other people of good will – from near and far – to demonstrate their solidarity with the populations of central Africa affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). We are decimated; join with us.
The LRA problem requires a multidimensional approach. First, the populations and governments of our region must prioritize the search for a durable and definitive solution to this problem. In fact, this should be this year’s number one priority for the governments of DRC, CAR, South Sudan, and Uganda. We call on the international community to engage, in line with international principles, to assist persons at risk, protect civilians, disband the LRA, and reunite our communities. We invite you to seek out the advice of the affected populations themselves. Collaborate with us, and together we can build a lasting peace.