Today we’re kicking off a blog series about Resolve’s latest report, Peace Can Be: President Obama’s chance to help end LRA atrocities in 2012. We don’t normally do this, but to start off we wanted to share a series of images to go along with the paper. The photos show the effects of LRA violence, the people it has impacted, the conditions in the area, and how communities are coping. The analysis and policy recommendations included in the report were based on three months of research in LRA-affected regions of Congo, CAR, South Sudan, and Uganda conducted by Resolve team member Paul Ronan, who also took most of these photos. Read the full report here, and stay tuned for more discussion on one of the paper’s main themes, regional coordination, next week.
President Obama signing the LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act on May 24, 2010.
“Unless the U.S. moves quickly to complement and expand on existing efforts, LRA leader Joseph Kony will likely outlast President Obama and his LRA strategy as effectively as he has outlasted the efforts of four previous U.S. presidents.”
Vehicle destroyed by the LRA near Dembia, CAR in June 2011 in which the region’s chief medical officer was killed and valuable polio vaccinations destroyed. (Credit: Civil society representative in southeast CAR)
“Military forces have failed to protect civilians from LRA reprisal and survival attacks during which the group has killed more than 2,400 people and abducted more than 3,400 others since 2008.”
“One of the central challenges to the successful implementation of the Obama Administration’s LRA strategy is the breakdown in cooperation among governments in the region… The governments of Congo, CAR, and South Sudan have not demonstrated the capability or willingness to succeed against the LRA on their own”
“The U.S. should increase its intelligence and aerial mobility support to the Ugandans, and help repair civil-military relations.”
“If current initiatives fail to break apart the LRA’s command structure, the group will be poised to survive indefinitely and eventually replenish its strength in the tri-border region.”
“U.S. military advisors [should integrate] protection strategies into Uganda’s operational planning, reporting alleged military abuses against civilians, and sharing intelligence about LRA activity with civilian early warning networks.”
“Local self-defense groups, known as the Arrow Boys or Home Guards,… take advantage of relatively extensive mobile phone and road networks within South Sudan to share information about LRA activities”
“Radio programs remain the most efficient way to spread ‘come home’ messages over vast distances to isolated [LRA] groups.”
“The U.S. must invest more in civilian early warning networks and disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) programs, which can help mitigate the consequences of LRA violence and reduce the group’s capacity to prey on vulnerable civilians.”
“Emergency aid and capacity-building for civil society is needed in areas of CAR, Congo, and South Sudan where the LRA has displaced over 465,000 people and is exacerbating communal tensions.”
“The Administration must make decisions about the advisers’ future based on their progress towards achieving clearly defined benchmarks and not on the shifting political currents in Washington, DC.”
“A premature withdrawal [of the U.S. military advisers] would deflate promising momentum from regional governments and U.S. officials to push forward on both military and civilian aspects of the counter-LRA effort.”