Northern Uganda: children paying with their lives for UN Security Council inaction
The United Nations Security Council must put the crisis in northern Uganda on its agenda and pass a resolution urging an end to the violence, international agency Oxfam demanded ahead of a top level Security Council briefing on the situation today.
"The United Nations Security Council has been silent on northern Uganda for two decades," said Greg Puley, Oxfam's Policy Advisor in New York. In that time over 25,000 children in northern Uganda have been abducted by the Lord's Resistance Army and many forced into sexual slavery and made to become child soldiers."
"One thousand people die every week as a direct result of what is now Africa's longest running war. Every single night, up to forty thousand people leave their homes and sleep in town centers in order to escape abduction."
Despite the horrific statistics, Oxfam's Greg Puley said the Security Council's response up to now to the twenty-year conflict had been silence and inaction.
"Security Council cannot plead ignorance to the tragedy taking place in northern Uganda yet they have not passed one single resolution. The Council must act now," Puley said.
UN Under-Secretary General Jan Egeland will today brief the Council on the regional impact of the conflict between the Government of Uganda and the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), which is now operating in DRC and Sudan.
There is clear evidence that the conflict in northern Uganda threatens to undermine peace efforts in neighboring Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
Oxfam is urging the permanent five Security Council members UK, US, France, China and Russia to support a resolution recognizing the threat to international peace and security caused by the conflict and condemning the LRA atrocities in northern Uganda, DRC and Sudan.
The Council must call for an immediate ceasefire and must appoint a high-level envoy to help the resumption of the peace process.
"Almost two million people are living in camps in northern Uganda, living in fear with very little protection," said Oxfam's Puley. "The Security Council must pressure the Government of Uganda to provide security and protection to its own civilians."
Oxfam said that the security situation has deteriorated rapidly in the last two months, including the killing of several aid workers and attacks on tourists. Many humanitarian agencies were forced to restrict aid operations for the two million people in camps in late October, being unable to reach them in safety. Oxfam is currently operating under severe security restrictions.
"The permanent five members can no longer willfully ignore one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world," said Puley.
For more information please contact:
Caroline Green in Washington DC on +1 202 32 17858 or
Clare Rudebeck in the UK at +44 7769 887 139