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Uganda violence against children continues: UN

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official profile] submitted a report [materials] on Wednesday to the UN Security Council [official website] concerning the situation of children affected by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] in Uganda. The report concluded that the LRA still poses a threat [UN News Centre report] to children and civilians, leading 45,000 people to leave their homes. It also detailed six crimes against children committed by the LRA which include recruitment and use of children in armed forces, killing and maiming, rape and sexual violence, abductions, attacks on schools and hospitals, and denial of humanitarian access. During the period of the report, from July 2009 to February 2012, approximately 591 children including 268 girls were abducted and recruited by the LRA in the Democratic Republic of the Congo [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive], Central African Republic [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] and South Sudan [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. Ban recommended a renewed international attention to the LRA's threat and the implementation of regional strategies to address the threat and ensure children receive adequate protection. Additionally, Ban called on donors to provide support for a successful implementation of the strategies. States should address the problem of weak presence of state security forces that led to self-defense groups responsible for violence against civilians.

Uganda has been facing difficulties in ending the violence against civilians committed by the LRA. One of the few success came when the Ugandan military forces, Uganda People's Defence Force (UPDF), captured [JURIST report] one of the highest leaders of the LRA in May. Major General Caesar Achellam is said to be a top rebel military strategist [BBC News report] and close ally of LRA leader Joseph Kony [BBC profile; JURIST news archive]. The recent campaign by Invisible children [advocacy website] has increased international efforts to capture Kony. In March, The International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] expressed his support for the campaign. During the same month, US lawmakers introduced [JURIST report] a legislation that would protect Ugandan citizens from the LRA. It calls for the expansion of the telecommunications infrastructure in Uganda and an increase in the presence of military forces in the region. Last September the Ugandan Constitutional Court [official website] held [JURIST report] that former LRA rebel Thomas Kwoyelo was entitled to amnesty under the country's Amnesty Act of 2000. He had been charged [JURIST report] with 53 counts of willful killing, hostage taking, destruction of property and causing injury that took place during Uganda's civil war [BBC backgrounder].

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