UNICEF URGENTLY REQUIRES US$ 16 MILLION TO EASE THE IMPACT OF THE CONFLICT ON CHILDREN
- In the north, children and women comprise 80% of IDPs
- In areas of IDP returns, education, water and other services are fragile or non-existent
- In the northeast, humanitarian indicators remain consistently below national averages
1. ISSUES FOR CHILDREN
Two decades of armed conflict between the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) have perpetuated a complex humanitarian situation in northern Uganda’s Acholi (Amuru, Gulu, Kitgum and Pader Districts) and Lango sub-regions (Apac, Amolatar, Dokolo, Lira and Oyam), marked by violence, poverty and the internal displacement of more than 1.5 million people. The right of access to essential services in health, nutrition, safe water, education, protection and shelter by the most vulnerable populations in the most disadvantaged parts of the districts remains largely unfulfilled. Children and women represent 80 percent of internally displaced persons (IDP) and have been the direct targets of attacks, sexual violence and abductions perpetuated by the LRA and others.
The renewal by the Government and LRA in April 2007 of a landmark Cessation of Hostilities Agreement, and the resumption of negotiations mediated by the Government of Southern Sudan hold the promise of an increasingly secure environment for return, rehabilitation and recovery. At the time of this report, however, neither large-scale returns of IDPs nor the official release of children and women associated with the LRA has occurred.
Humanitarian indicators in the north-eastern Karamoja sub-region, comprising Abim, Kaabong, Kotido, Moroto and Nakapiripirit Districts, remain consistently lower than national averages as the sub-region continues to experience an endemic conflict involving the agro-pastoralist Karamajong population. Following the Government’s resumption in May 2006 of a forced disarmament programme to address insecurity created by the illegal possession of firearms by some Karamojong members, security conditions have deteriorated particularly in parts of Kotido, Kaabong and Abim which continue to witness armed confrontations between the UPDF and Karamojong warriors.