28th August 2009
Response of Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative (ARLPI) to Regional Violence by the Lords Resistance Army (LRA)
Over the last number of months, an alarming number of reports have circulated documenting attacks allegedly committed by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in the regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), South Sudan, and Central Africa Republic (CAR).
While northern Uganda has experienced relative calm since the beginning of the Juba Peace Talks in 2006, the Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative (ARLPI) remains deeply troubled that the conflict has spread to other regions which have no interest or stake in the conflict.
We the religious leaders of Acholi would like to express our sincere sadness and concern for the hundreds of thousands experiencing mass displacement, abduction of civilians, loss of properties, and both physical and emotional anguish as a result of the violence. We
From inception, ARLPI has labored to find peaceful solutions to the northern Uganda conflict which will allow those affected to reconcile and live in harmonious coexistence. With that goal in mind and out of a desire for sustainable peace and security for all people, we the Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative make the following pleas:
The Lords Resistance Army
· Immediately desist from all forms of violence against the civilian population.
· Release those abducted so they may return home to their families.
· Allow uninhibited access to individuals in need so that humanitarian aid can be provided to them.
· Show a commitment to peace by renewing communication with the GoU and/or other stakeholders.
· Honor commitments made during the Juba Peace Talks.
The Government of Uganda
· Honor the commitments made to the Juba Peace Talks and seek ways for their hurried implementation.
· Fulfill the commitment to the Peace Recovery and Development Plan (PRDP) both financially and practically to ensure effective performance.
· Prioritize reconciliation and forge ways to foster harmonious coexistence.
The Regional Governments of LRA Areas (Uganda, DRC, South Sudan, & CAR)
· Pursue dialogue with the LRA as a means of ending the conflict.
· Continue to engage in robust diplomacy with regional stakeholders to meet the needs of the affected people.
· Engage in trust and confidence building approaches with the LRA.
· Foster the return and rehabilitation of those who defect from the LRA.
· Continue to aid in the provision of resources and services to affected individuals/communities.
· Help to ensure the protection of civilians though non-violent means.
· Help to facilitate the return of LRA combatants.
· Increase support for the implementation of the items agreed upon in the Juba Peace Talks, especially transitional justice mechanisms
· Advocate for the re-instatement of the UN Special Envoy for LRA Affected Areas.
· Investigate, expose and hold accountable those who work to ‘spoil’ peace talks both locally and internationally.
As religious leaders, we will commit continue to do our utmost to pursue peaceful means to end the conflict so that the suffering of God’s children will end. May sustainable peace come swiftly to the region.
Together for Peace,
Archbishop John Baptist Odama-ARLPI Chairman
Al Hajji Sheik Musa Khalil-ARLPI Vice-Chairman, Muslim District Khadi
Rt. Rev. Bishop Nelson Onono-ARLPI Core Team Member, Chairman Finance Committee
Rt. Rev. Bishop Benjamin Ojwang- ARLPI Core Team Member, Kitgum Diocese
Rt. Rev. Bishop Macleord Baker Ochola II- ARLPI Founding Core Team Member
Fr. Julius Orach-ARLPI Core Team Member, Chairman Welfare Committee
Bishop Sabino Odoki-ARLPI Core Team Member, Treasurer