Religious leaders from LRA-affected areas call for change
On September 28th, 2012, religious leaders from Congo, Central African Republic (CAR), and South Sudan met as part of the Regional Interfaith Network of Religious Leaders for Peace (Le Réseau Régional et Interconfessionnel des Leaders Religieux pour la Paix, RRILRP) and released a statement expressing their concerns and recommendations for seeing an end to the LRA conflict. They call for increased protection of civilians and humanitarian assistance, especially in the most isolated areas of CAR. We’ve included a translation of their recommendations below and attached their full statement here (translation included).
This past July, we were honored to bring Fr. Benoit Kinalegu and Sr. Angelique Namaika from Dungu, DRC to meetings wit policymakers all around the world. Our own work benefits from the dedication of many religious leaders in LRA-affected areas, who often help facilitate our research in LRA-affected areas and provide advice that is incorporated into our advocacy work.
1. To the African Union:
- Prioritize civilian protection, especially during military attacks against the LRA;
- Call for a regional and very representative conference on the real motivations of the LRA;
- Take on the command Regional Task Force’s coordination;
- Demand effective and proportional commitment from affected countries;
- Urge other African countries to join the task force;
- Foster positive military cooperation among affected countries.
2. To the International Community:
- Pay attention and be effectively involved in the LRA issue;
- Mobilize sufficient funds for humanitarian assistance;
- Expand humanitarian coverage in the neediest areas;
- Mobilize funds and essential material support in favor of the African Union in its regional strategy roll out;
- Support specialized international organizations in fact-finding on the LRA supply chain;
- Intensify DDRRR so to encourage defections from the LRA.
3. To the Governments of affected countries:
- Favor their population’s interests and well-being;
- Ensure civilian’s protection;
- As sovereign states, commit to the resolution of the LRA crisis in their respective countries;
- Subscribe to regional cooperation at diplomatic, political, and military levels;
- Allocate a consistent budget to address the LRA crisis;
- Involve the local communities in the search for solutions to the LRA crisis.
4. To the elected Leaders:
- Fulfill their role of people’s representative at various levels;
- Be the voice of their suffering communities;
- Advocate for the protection and the wellbeing of their people;
- Monitor and evaluate the actions agreed upon to the LRA crisis.
5. To local communities:
- Persistent prayers for peace restoration;
- Involvement in peaceful conflict resolution;
- To unite, rise up their voice, and join hands for protection of life and property;
- Readiness to welcome and forgive LRA defectors and victims;
- In solidarity, extend assistance to the victims.
6. To the media:
- Ensure sufficient media coverage on the LRA issue;
- Monitor government’s commitment to the LRA eradication;
- Contribute to the debates on the real motives behind the LRA’s regional expansion.
*Photo courtesy of gurtong.net. Acholi religious leaders addressing the media.