World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Rebel Group Atrocities Against Children In Uganda

Security Council Condemns Rebel Group's Atrocities Against Children In Uganda

Highlighting the abduction and forced recruitment of children as soldiers and sex slaves, members of the United Nations Security Council today strongly condemned the atrocities being committed by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebel group in northern Uganda.

In a statement to the press issued by its President for April, Ambassador Gunter Pleuger of Germany, Council members demanded that the LRA immediately stop all attacks against civilians.

The 15 members said it was vital that the warring parties in northern and eastern Uganda explore "all peaceful avenues to resolve" their conflict, and allow aid workers unrestricted access to civilians. They also said the Ugandan Government must step up its protection of displaced persons.

The statement followed a private briefing earlier today from the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Jan Egeland, who later told reporters that "a major humanitarian emergency" was unfolding in Uganda.

"I would say this is perhaps the most under-reported story in the world today," he said. "Because where else would there be 10,000 kidnapped children in the course of only 18 months who have been terrorized into becoming killing machines, terrorized into attacking their own villages, killing their own relatives?"

The envoy said that most of the soldiers and most of the victims of the war are children. "By some estimates minors make up 80 per cent of the LRA soldiers," he said.

The children are abducted and forcibly recruited into the LRA, he said, with many girls also serving as sexual slaves for the senior commanders of the group, which wants to impose the Ten Commandments of the Christian Bible as the law in Uganda.

During a field visit late last year, Mr. Egeland said, he spoke to a girl - she has now escaped from the LRA - who said that she and other captives were once forced to take another child who tried to flee and "literally tear apart that child with her own teeth."

"The psychological trauma of these acts is incalculable. The atrocities are unspeakable and they affect thousands and thousands and thousands every month," he said.

The LRA's policy of abductions had also created a new phenomenon known as "the night commuter," he said, where as many as 40,000 children and mothers walk for hours every night to sleep outside hospitals, town halls and community centres because they feel it is unsafe anywhere else.

In its press statement, Council members said such crimes as abductions, sexual violence and sexual exploitation "should not remain unpunished." It also expressed concern about the large-scale displacement of civilians.

Mr. Egeland said the number of people uprooted from their homes because of the fighting has almost trebled to more than 1.5 million now from 550,000 in January 2002. The UN World Food Programme has been able to provide basic supplies to most of those people.

Only 10 per cent of the $127 million in donations sought by the UN to relieve the suffering in Uganda has been received so far, he said, adding that more is needed to prevent a break next month in the process that delivers cereals to the needy.

He said the Ugandan Government, regional organizations and the international community have done "far too little" for the people of northern Uganda, but he was heartened that Council members today pledged to devote greater funds and attention to the problem.

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news