The United Nations is not doing enough to rein in the capacity of the Lord's Resistance Army to attack civilians, international rights activism organization, Human Rights Watch has said.
In a letter released yesterday, Human Rights Watch urged the UN Security Council to ensure justice for the most serious crimes committed during the northern Uganda conflict.
Today the Security Council will be briefed by the former president of Mozambique, Joaquim Chissano, who is the UN secretary-general's special envoy to areas affected by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA).
Human Rights Watch said that the LRA has resumed human rights abuses including abductions and sexual slavery in three countries. It notes that the alleged crimes, coupled with LRA leader Joseph Kony's failure to sign a final peace agreement on April 10 have intensified questions as to the LRA's commitment to the peace negotiations.
Richard Dicker, international justice director at Human Rights Watch said that in the face of new allegations of atrocities committed by the LRA, silence by the UN Security Council should not be an option. He said Security Council members should act to help ensure the abuses are stopped and that those responsible for the most serious crimes committed by both sides in the northern Uganda conflict are prosecuted.
According to written documentation from foreign observers and domestic authorities obtained by Human Rights Watch, the LRA has carried out at least 100 abductions in the Central African Republic, Southern Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo since February 2008. The information suggests boys are made to act as porters or subjected to military training while girls are used as sex slaves.
Human Rights Watch has learned that details about recent LRA abuses also have been passed on to UN staff in the region.
Human Rights Watch also called for the council to insist that the LRA immediately release all women, children, and other non-combatants. It also wants UN peacekeeping forces, such as the forces for Congo, to play a key role in protecting civilians at risk from alleged LRA attacks and facilitating ultimate execution of the International Criminal Court arrest warrants.
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