Uganda: "Breaking God's commands": The destruction of childhood by the Lord's Resistance Army

September 17, 1997

Uganda: "Breaking God's commands": The destruction of childhood by the Lord's Resistance Army

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  • take action to prevent human rights violations by UPDF soldiers, police and other state actors. This should include the investigation of reports of human rights violations by government forces and action to bring to justice alleged violators;
  • ensure that persons who report human rights abuses by either government forces or the LRA are protected from retaliation;
  • undertake not to use census data on abducted persons for defining whether captured or reporting former LRA members face criminal charges;
  • ensure that captured or reporting former child soldiers are well-treated, are not held for long periods in detaches or barracks and are not used in military operations;
  • facilitate and resource the expansion of community-orientated psycho-social counselling services;
  • in conjunction with concerned NGOs, identify the long-term needs of traumatized children and communities and implement plans for these to be met;
  • develop a long-term plan for conflict resolution and rehabilitation in northern Uganda which places emphasis on establishing respect for human rights and confronting the legacy of past human rights abuse;
  • initiate and respond to dialogue with the people of Gulu and Kitgum concerning the protection of human rights;
  • establish a public inquiry or truth commission to hear evidence of human rights abuses by all parties since January 1986;
  • ensure that the Uganda Human Rights Commission has sufficient resources to open an investigatory office in Gulu;
  • facilitate and support the work of human rights NGOs in the war-affected parts of northern Uganda;
  • in coordination with concerned NGOs and other elements of civil society, develop a national campaign against rape and sexual violence;
  • invite the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Sudan to visit Uganda in order to investigate the abuse of children's human rights by the LRA;
  • invite the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women to visit Uganda in order to investigate and report on the situation of women and girl-children in the north;
  • implement the provisions of the Beijing Declaration and the Platform of Action related to women and armed conflict;
  • implement the provisions of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women;
  • support measures to increase the protection of children from abuse in situations of armed conflict, including the draft optional protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child aimed at raising the minimum age of recruitment of soldiers.

To civil society

NGOs, churches, the media can play a critical role in breaking down the perceived alienation of northern Uganda. Contributing to rebuilding respect for human rights could be an important part of this. Amnesty International makes the following suggestions: