IPI Policy Forum: Opening remarks by Ambassador Wittig on “Beyond Kony 2012 – Protecting Children from the LRA"
(IPI Policy Forum: Opening remarks as delivered by Ambassador Wittig on “Beyond Kony 2012 – Protecting Children from the LRA")
Ladies and gentlemen,
Many thanks to the IPI for hosting this important panel discussion on the LRA and for giving me the floor for a statement as the Chair of the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict.
The LRA is synonymous with the brutal abduction and use of children as child soldiers, porters, spies and/or sex slaves. Probably thousands of children have been killed by the LRA over the years and tens of thousands displaced. The LRA has also been listed in the ‘list of shame’ in the annual CAAC report of the Secretary-General for the last nine years.
Since 2006 the Security Council Working Group CAAC has repeatedly addressed the LRA issue – and it will continue to do so this year. Only some days ago, the Secretary-General has issued a new CAAC report "on the situation of children and armed conflict affected by the LRA". The Working Group will take this report up in due course. As Chair, we will strive to adopt recommendations which:
- build upon the UN regional strategy to be developed in support of the AU regional initiative, as requested by the Security Council,
- demand that all military efforts to address the LRA threat put the protection of those children currently associated with the LRA front and center,
- call on military actors to ensure the safe and adequate hand-over of children associated with the LRA to civilian child protection advisors,
and call for renewed efforts to combat impunity for LRA perpetrators of grave violations against children.
The LRA has demonstrated its ability to mount operations across borders. Despite its present state of weakness, as it appears, the LRA is still capable of instilling fear and violence in the region, mostly affecting children. This is why it is so important to address the LRA threat. I hope that our discussion today will contribute to the efforts to develop a comprehensive approach in order to tackle this regional security challenge.