18 December 2012Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative Ambassador Philip Parham, of the UK Mission to the UN, at the UN Security Council Open Briefing on UNOCA/Lords Resistance Army
Thank you Mr President,
I would like to thank Special Representative Moussa for his statement this morning and for his continued work on these issues.
For over twenty years, the Lord’s Resistance Army has blighted the heart of Africa. Led by the odious Joseph Kony, the LRA remains a murderous band of criminals, preying on civilians, targeting women and children and terrorising communities across central Africa.
But an end to this scourge is in sight. The concerted efforts of the affected countries, the African Union, the United Nations and other partners have substantially weakened the LRA. Permanent eradication of the threat they pose is now within our reach. But that can only be achieved through sustained focus and by creating and consolidating security and stability in the affected countries.
The release of the United Nations Regional Strategy on the LRA was a welcome step towards achieving that aim. The United Kingdom welcomes the progress already made in putting that strategy into effect. However, for further progress to be made, we need the LRA-affected countries, the African Union and the United Nations political, development, humanitarian and peacekeeping missions in these countries to deliver fully on all the pillars of the strategy.
In this regard, the United Kingdom believes the development of an implementation plan for the strategy will be key to success. This implementation plan should outline the priority actions, articulate key milestones and outcomes, and be fully costed. It should also identify, and articulate to the broader donor community, underfunded parts of the strategy.
The United Kingdom also urges the governments of the LRA-affected countries to renew and strengthen their collaboration to end the threat which the LRA pose to thousands of innocent civilians. I encourage the heads of state of those countries, alongside the United Nations and African Union, to convene a high-level meeting to discuss how to implement successfully the African Union Regional Cooperation Initiative. Furthermore, the United Kingdom urges the LRA-affected countries to develop and agree their Concept of Operations for the AU Regional Task Force. This will significantly improve tactical coordination, information sharing and joint planning between the relevant militaries .
Alongside the efforts of regional countries, the United Kingdom believes that the international community also has a responsibility to support the region. That is why the United Kingdom is proud to have pledged recently £500,000 over a period of two years to a UNICEF programme which will ensure that the Regional Task Force is trained in best international practice to improve the care and handling of children. We urge other members of the international community likewise to contribute resources.
The United Kingdom commends the increased cross-border cooperation of the UN peacekeeping missions in the LRA-affected countries, and in particular the development of region-wide disarmament, demobilisation, repatriation, resettlement and reintegration initiatives.
I would now like to comment on UNOCA’s broader role in the region. UNOCA’s ultimate aim should be to play a strong and constructive regional coordination role. So the United Kingdom welcomes UNOCA’s recent efforts to facilitate and encourage closer regional cooperation in Central Africa. UNOCA’s work with other regional bodies such as the Economic Community of Central African States has helped improve cooperation in areas such as conflict prevention and governance.
The United Kingdom remains concerned by the threats to maritime security of Africa’s Western seaboard and welcomes the leadership shown by the United Nations on this issue. UNOCA has an important role to play in ensuring that the international community works together to build maritime capability. A regional response is essential in order to minimise the impact on economic development and stability. Successful maritime policing could bring real benefits to the region including through fishing revenues and increased regional trade.
Thank you Mr President.