Lord Resistance Army
(New York, November 14, 2011)
Statement by H.E. Ambassador Fernando Alzate, Permanent Representative of Colombia to the United Nations
Allow me also to express our delegation's thanks for the briefings by Special Representative of the Secretary- General for Central Africa and Head of the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa Abou Moussa. Similarly, I wish to express our thanks for the briefings by the Permanent Observer of the African Union and the Secretary-General of the Economic Community of Central African States. I also welcome the presence in the Chamber of the representatives of South Sudan and the Central African Republic.
Colombia is deeply concerned about the hostilities of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) against the populations of the affected countries — the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan and Uganda. They show that group's brutality and utter disregard for the most fundamental human rights standards and for international humanitarian law. Despite the reduced number of soldiers in the Army, the impact and magnitude of its violent attacks on the civilian population continue to be gravely troubling and threaten the security of the affected countries in the Central African region.
Colombia therefore believes it greatly important to continue developing strategies to respond in a coherent way to the challenges posed by that armed group's activities. Those strategies must be based on the principle that the fundamental responsibility to protect civilians falls to the States affected by the presence of the Lord's Resistance Army. The international community's response must therefore be aimed at building national capacities, strengthening institutions and improving the logistical and operational capacities of national security forces. We must also support regional and subregional initiatives to combat this scourge.
At the same time, there is a need for efforts not to be limited to military operations. An effective disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process is essential, as is as a coordinated strategy on assistance to victims. We must implement concrete steps to improve the quality of life for populations in affected areas through economic and social development. We stress the importance of developing joint plans and operations based on coordinated cooperation among the security forces of affected States. The international community should promote and encourage a common acknowledgement of the impact of this armed group on the security and well-being of populations as part of an effort to build upon the progress made against the Lord's Resistance Army in all areas affected by its presence. The initiatives adopted by the African Union also deserve our acknowledgment. The broad vision and concrete proposals to establish a regional intervention force, the Joint Information Operations Centre and a joint coordination mechanism provide a framework for coordinating effective regional efforts, which would be greatly bolstered by the African Union's naming of a special envoy for the LRA-affected areas.
Moreover, through the United Nations Office to the African Union, the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa, United Nations missions in the affected countries and the country teams, the United Nations plays a very important role in developing and implementing efforts to fight the Lord's Resistance Army. They should have the necessary logistical and financial means to carry out their assigned tasks. Under the leadership of the States affected, it is essential that the international community make it possible for the legitimate authorities of those States to strengthen the exercise of their sovereignty and gain full control over their territories, in keeping with the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and non-interference the domestic affairs of States.
Moreover, the role of justice in resolving the conflict is another factor we should not lose sight of. In that regard, all States should lend their cooperation in bringing to justice those guilty of the heinous crimes committed by the Lord's Resistance Army and support the officials of affected States and of the International Criminal Court with regard to the cases brought forward against the leaders of the group.
Lastly, we support the draft presidential statement, as we believe that it addresses all of these Issues.