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Peace Operations set rules for disarmament and reintegration of LRA Combatants

Posted: Wednesday, 5 November 2012, New York | Author: Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions

DDRRR of LRA High-Level Panel: Ambassador Francisco Madeira, African Union Special Envoy for the LRA Issue; Abou Moussa, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of United Nations Office for Central Africa and Ms. Leila Zerrougui, Under-Secretary-General, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflicts. 30 November, 2012, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.From 26 to 30 November, the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) Section, Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions (OROLSI), Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) of the United Nations organized a series of events to facilitate the drafting of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) on disarmament, demobilization, repatriation, resettlement and reintegration (DDRRR) of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).

The initiative was funded by Germany and undertaken in partnership with the African Union (AU), the United Nations Office to the African Union (UNOAU), the Department of Political Affairs (DPA), and the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA).

DDRRR of LRA Input Colloquium Participants, 26 November 2012, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.In June 2012, the UN Secretary-General developed a multi-dimensional regional strategy (S/2012/481) on the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in an effort to address the atrocities and cross-border violence perpetrated by the LRA. The third objective of the strategy focuses on Disarmament, Demobilization, Repatriation, Resettlement and Reintegration (DDRRR) and specifically calls on BINUCA, MONUSCO and UNMISS to jointly develop UN Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) on DDRRR of the LRA.

“Looking back over the last 12 months, many positive developments have been observed through this joint AU/UN collaboration, which has also included other stakeholders, in support of the affected countries in addressing the LRA threat. One of those is the importance of leading together and speaking with one voice,” - Abou Moussa, SRSG, UNOCA.

DDRRR of LRA Input Colloquium Participants, 26 November 2012, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.The first event of the week was a one-day Input Colloquium, which received views and comments on DDRRR and the LRA from technical, working-level representatives of the AU, civilian and military governmental representatives of the LRA-affected countries, as well as local and international organizations and UN entities. Feedback received from the Input Colloquium was used to inform the Drafting Workshop, which took place from 27 to 29 November.

The technical meetings culminated on 30 November, with a High-Level Symposium, during which time senior officials from the UN, the AU, and Member States were briefed on the work of the technical level sessions. Substantive discussions were facilitated on political challenges related to implementing non-military measures to address the LRA, larger implications of the presence of foreign armed groups and the difficulties in dealing with victims who are also perpetrators, including children.

“We should not allow impunity for those most responsible for human rights violations. In the case of adult perpetrators who were recruited as children, we must nevertheless not forget that they themselves were victims. Recruited children are deprived of their childhood; schooling is replaced by a de-humanizing education in violence and brutality, which often marks them for life. This should be taken into account as a mitigating factor when judging the accused” - Leila Zerrougui, USG and SRSG for Children and Armed Conflict.

The initiative has provided an opportunity to take an important step forward towards the implementation of DDRRR aspects of the regional strategy. This includes fostering collaboration amongst Missions and partners in the LRA-affected area and strengthening the UN’s approach to DDRRR of the LRA as well as other foreign armed groups.

“I would like to express my satisfaction that the Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations at the United Nations is now spearheading the implementation of the third pillar of the Secretary-General’s regional strategy on the LRA, which is DDRRR. This is extremely important for us because we know that at the end of the day, whatever military actions we take, they must be complemented by non-military measures” – Ambassador Francisco Madeira, AU Special Envoy for the LRA Issue.