18 December 2012 – Security Council – Central African region/LRA– Statement by Mr. Philippe Bertoux, Political Counsellor of France to the United Nations
I thank Mr. Abou Moussa, Special Representative of the
Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations
Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), for
coming to New York and for his briefing today. I also
thank the Secretary-General for his report (S/2012/923)
on the activities of UNOCA and on the progress made
in the fight against the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).
Many political and security challenges persist in
Central Africa that require the joint cooperation of all actors. We encourage UNOCA’s efforts to strengthen
its links with the Economic Community of Central
African States and the International Conference on the
Great Lakes Region.
On the security front, the fight against piracy in the
Gulf of Guinea is a source of concern to the Council.
We welcome the summit of Heads of States on piracy
in the Gulf of Guinea planned for April 2013, with
UNOCA’s support. We also welcome UNOCA’s active
promotion of the Central African Convention for the
Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons, Their
Ammunition and All Parts and Components That Can
Be Used for Their Manufacture, Repair and Assembly,
and its promotion of the road map for efforts to combat
terrorism and for the non-proliferation of small arms
and light weapons in Central Africa.
On the political front, we reiterate the need for free,
transparent elections in order to ensure lasting peace
in Central Africa, and encourage UNOCA to continue
supporting national efforts in that area.
Among the peace and security challenges in
Central Africa, the Lord’s Resistance Army remains
a major concern. The rebellion of the Mouvement du
23 mars (M23) in the eastern Democratic Republic of
the Congo and tensions between the Sudan and South
Sudan, as well as last week’s escalation of attacks by
rebel groups in eastern Central African Republic, are
of serious concern. However, they must not cause us to
forget the ongoing threat of the LRA in the subregion.
In the past year, at least 180 attacks were carried
out against civilians by that armed group, causing 39
deaths. UNOCA has played a key role in formulating the
United Nations regional strategy on the fight against the
LRA. The strategy defines effective measures, based on
five key pillars, aimed at strengthened coordination of
the actions of all partners involved in the fight against
Six months after the adoption of the strategy,
implementation of all of those pillars should be
prioritized. In order to reinvigorate the momentum,
we need a plan of action on implementing the strategy
that sets timetables and specific goals for each United
Nations entity involved. UNOCA could also promote
a high-level meeting of the States involved in the fight
against the LRA, aimed at increased cooperation on the
Today, it is critical for the African Union (AU)
to launch coercive actions against the LRA. To that
end, the AU’s Regional Task Force against the LRA
must take shape. In that respect, we commend the
commitments of Uganda, South Sudan and the Central
African Republic, which have already made contingents
available to the Force. We encourage other States of the
region to do the same. We call for the finalization of a
concept of operations to define the chain of command
and the modalities of the Force, which must be able to
intervene in all areas affected by the LRA.
Civilian protection measures must be strengthened.
That will entail increased sharing of information
and intelligence among United Nations offices and
operations in the region, as well as between the United
Nations and the Ay Regional Task Force. Radio and
cellular early warning communications systems should
also be developed in order to quickly locate groups
associated with the LRA and to warn and protect
Defections by LRA members should be encouraged.
Existing disarmament, demobilization, reintegration
and repatriation or resettlement (DDRRR) programmes
must be extended to all affected areas, with special
emphasis on reintegration by establishing appropriate
accommodation structures. It is important that the
offices and missions of the United Nations develop a
common DDRRR approach, and establish standard
procedures for accepting deserters, in particular
children who had been recruited.
At the same time, efforts under way to arrest and
prosecute the primary leaders of the LRA, including
Joseph Kony, should continue. We encourage the States
involved to strengthen their cooperation with the
International Criminal Court towards that goal.
France supports all of those efforts through its
contributions to the European Union African Peace
Facility. France also provides bilateral support to States
affected by the LRA, inter alia through our ongoing
and substantial cooperation with the Central African
Republic in the military sector. To the four countries
concerned, we also provide humanitarian assistance
to civilians affected by the attacks, particularly
through food assistance, and carry out socioeconomic
reintegration programmes for child soldiers.
The States affected by the LRA have a major role to
play. We encourage them to continue their efforts to put an end to the threat of the LRA and thereby relieve the
affected populations. We stand beside them.