U.S. Mission to the United Nations
Office of Press and Public Diplomacy
New York, N.Y.
December 10, 2014
Statement by Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on the Lord’s Resistance Army, December 10, 2014
Today, the Security Council held consultations on instability in central Africa, including the threats posed by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) to international peace and security. For more than two decades, the LRA has marauded across central Africa, displacing millions of civilians, torturing, raping, and murdering tens of thousands of men, women, and children, and swelling its ranks with abducted children to serve as porters, sex slaves, and weapons of war.
President Obama has made it a priority to end the threat posed by the LRA and its leader, Joseph Kony, and he has committed significant U.S. resources to the African Union-led effort to removing Kony and his top commanders from the battlefield. The United States continues to provide over 100 U.S. military aisors to assist regional forces, and we are providing critical intelligence, logistics and airlift support to ongoing military operations.
In the nearly three years since the African Union launched this effort, we have made significant progress to erode the capacity of the LRA to wreak havoc on civilians. The number of people displaced by the LRA has dropped to less than 135,000, significantly down from the 1.8 million displaced at the height of the conflict. The 250 people who have defected or been released since 2012 have done so in large part due to a comprehensive approach that combines an expanded military campaign with enhanced efforts to promote the defection, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of remaining LRA fighters and increasing humanitarian access to affected communities. We commend regional governments, especially Uganda, for their steadfast efforts to end the LRA threat.
Despite this progress, however, LRA activities continue to threaten peace and security in the region. The United States is deeply concerned about continued LRA activity in border areas between Sudan and South Sudan, and we encourage the Government of Sudan to follow through on its commitment to allow a visit to the disputed Kafia Kingi area by an AU assessment mission. We also remain concerned by reports of increased LRA links to poaching and diamond smuggling networks in the region, and call for a redoubling of efforts to strengthen enforcement and promote partnerships to combat wildlife trafficking and deny extremist groups a funding stream for their activities.
As the LRA moves between countries in the region, UN missions and the African Union-led Regional Task Force (AU-RTF) must ensure more rapid information-sharing between the AU-RTF, the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), and the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), to respond both to civilian attacks and to reports of defectors seeking assistance to reintegrate into normal life.
While much work remains to end the scourge of the LRA, the United States and our partners look forward to the day when no child is stolen from his or her family, robbed of his or her dignity, and forced into a life of violence.
Source : United States Department of State