the friend online
28 March 2008

Northern Uganda, peace process and the International Criminal Court - preview

Michael Bartlet, Quaker Peace & Social Witness’s parliamentary liaison secretary, recently visited Gulu and reflects on some of the issues that are challenging peace at the moment in northern Uganda

The twenty-year rebellion in northern Uganda has killed tens of thousands and lain waste to a generation which has scarcely known peace
  • Once described as the 'biggest neglected humanitarian emergency in the world', the brutal war conducted by the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) since 1986 has resulted in both boys and girls being abducted to become soldiers and sexual partners, caused the forced displacement of between one and two million people and devastated the region agriculturally and economically
  • Its distance from the faultlines of international politics means that deaths in Uganda have never been given the same prominence as those in Kosovo or the Middle East
  • Areas of fertile savannah are now overgrown scrubland
  • Boundaries of homesteads are obscured
  • Whereas before the conflict there were 36,000 cattle in the Acholi sub-region of northern Uganda, now there are 5,000
  • The rebellion has been fought to a stalemate in which the rebels could never hope to take over even the regional government but neither could the government of Uganda dislodge LRA warlords from the borders with Sudan and Congo

  • Michael Bartlet

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