UN envoy to northern Uganda holds talks with regional leaders

UN envoy to northern Uganda holds talks with regional leaders

The United Nations envoy for the conflict in northern Uganda is meeting with officials in the region as part of his ongoing efforts to broker a durable peace accord between the Government and the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).

Joaquim Chissano, Ban Ki-moon’s Special Envoy for areas affected by the LRA, met earlier today in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, with the President of the Central African Republic (CAR), UN spokesperson Michele Montas told reporters in New York.

Mr. Chissano briefed President François Bozizé, who is visiting Uganda, on his activities.

This afternoon, Mr. Chissano will proceed to the southern Sudanese town of Juba, the site of previous talks between the LRA and the Ugandan Government, for further consultations on the peace negotiations.

As part of his current mission to the region, the Special Envoy will also visit the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ms. Montas said.

Appointed in December 2006, Mr. Chissano – a former Mozambican president – has been tasked with addressing the regional ramifications of the Ugandan conflict, particularly its impact on neighbours such as Sudan and the DRC, as well as its root causes.

Thousands of civilians have been killed or abducted since the LRA began its rebellion in 1986, and more than 1.5 million people have become refugees or internally displaced persons (IDPs).

During the conflict the rebel group became notorious for abducting children and then using them as soldiers or porters, while subjecting some to torture and allocating many girls to senior officers in a form of institutional rape.

The Ugandan Government and the LRA agreed to a cessation of hostilities last year, but a comprehensive agreement has not yet been struck and some senior LRA figures face International Criminal Court (ICC) indictments.