Oxfam: UN Security Council appears ignorant and apathetic about suffering in northern Uganda

Published: 22 November 2005

The UN Security Council has this week left the impression that it is dangerously out of touch with the human cost of the 19-year war in northern Uganda, said international agency Oxfam today.

The UN Security Council has this week left the impression that it is dangerously out of touch with the human cost of the 19-year war in northern Uganda, said international agency Oxfam today.

A UN Security Council mission to the region wraps up today. The Council met Ugandan President Museveni yesterday to discuss ways of ending the civil war and humanitarian situation in northern Uganda and reported to the press that "strong progress has been made". This is despite increasing insecurity, mortality levels well above emergency thresholds and the recent murders of aid workers and a tourist.

1,000 civilians die in northern Uganda every week due to the 19 year-old war between the Ugandan government and the Lord's Resistance Army. Tuesday,
a British man was killed in northern Uganda by suspected LRA members. This follows the recent murder of five aid workers by suspected LRA members.

"Oxfam expected the Security Council to face up to the reality of the humanitarian emergency in northern Uganda, and we are dismayed and alarmed that this doesn't appear to have happened. Yesterday, the French ambassador to the UN, who led the Security Council mission to Uganda, said he understands "strong progress" has been made. This is deeply disappointing coming from the Council at a time when suffering is increasing for nearly two million people and aid workers are being killed," said Emma Naylor, Oxfam's Country Program Manager in Uganda.

Some aid agencies, including Oxfam, have been forced to temporarily suspend their work in northern Uganda in response to recent attacks on aid workers. As a result, many agencies fear that death rates in the camps for internally displaced people will start to rise because they cannot deliver vital supplies such as food, water and medicines.

"We have now been unable to get vital supplies to camps for two weeks. After almost 20 years of silence, it is time for the UN Security Council to agree a resolution to protect the millions suffering in sub-Saharan Africa's longest-running war," added Naylor.

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Clare Rudebeck in the UK on +44 7769 887 139