*Rwanda commended for FDLR repatriation
CIVIL Society groups are calling for fast disarmament and repatriation of all armed groups in the Great Lakes region so as to create, reinforce and sustain peace in the region. The call was made during the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) held in Kampala on Friday.
The meeting on the implementation of the Regional Program of Action for Peace and Security for the Great Lakes region was convened to discuss strategies and institutional mechanisms through which states can put the Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement into effect in order to create sustainable peace and security in the region.
The Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement, which was signed in 1999, requires the 11 member states of the ICGLR to disarm, compensate and resettle all armed groups in the region in order to end conflicts there.
The Agreement also calls for the states to combat illicit small arms and weapons and fight trans-border crimes and terrorist activities.
A United Nations study revealed that the Great Lakes remains one of the regions in the world most affected by violent conflicts, wars and crimes despite the many initiatives in the past to end them.
As a result, millions of people have been subjected to untold suffering with lots of property lost, hindering human development.
Civil Society members also called upon countries within the Great Lakes to create a regional framework for the prevention, management and peaceful settlement of conflicts.
Areas highlighted that need urgent attention include: Eastern Congo, Sudan-Darfur region, Northern Uganda and Northern Kenya.
The Civil Society groups also called for the disarmament of nomadic groups like the Karimonjong, Pokot and Turkana who terrorise communities during their cattle rustling activities in Uganda and Kenya.
Rwanda was commended for its move to disarm, repatriate and resettle the FDLR group, referring to the move as a positive one towards peace in the region.
Uganda and Rwanda were also lauded for sending peace keeping forces to Somalia and Darfur respectively.
At the same conference, the group reviewed the implementation process of the recommendations of the Pact on Security, Stability and Development in the Great Lakes region that was signed by the Presidents of the 11 countries that constitute the ICGLR.