The information below is based on the 2011 report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council (A/65/820-S/2011/250) issued on 23 April 2011. More information is available in the report.
The country task forces on monitoring and reporting continued its onsite visits of Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) facilities to verify the implementation of its recruitment policies and ensure compliance in ending child recruitment and use, in line with the action plan regarding children associated with armed forces signed between the Government of Uganda and the United Nations in August 2007. There were no cases of recruitment and use of children by UPDF or the local defence units in 2010.
LRA continued to commit violations against children outside Uganda, in the Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic. Despite repeated calls by the international community to LRA to unconditionally release children in its ranks, no progress has been made to date towards such release.
In the south-east, particularly in Mbomou and Haut-Mbomou prefectures and parts of Haute-Kotto prefecture of the Central African Republic, 138 Central African children were abducted by LRA. In 2010, 12 children, including 4 girls (one of them with a baby born in captivity), who escaped from LRA were repatriated to the Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda and reunified with their families with the assistance of the International Committee of the Red Cross. Multiple attacks by LRA on the civilian population during the reporting period, which resulted in the deaths and injury of children, were documented.
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 49 children were reportedly abducted, recruited and used by LRA in 2010. An additional 233 cases of child abduction by LRA that occurred prior to 2010 were documented as a result of gaining access to zones not previously accessible in Orientale Province. Further, there was an increase in the number of children who escaped from LRA in 2010 (282 children: 146 boys and 136 girls, among which one was from Central Africa and two were from the Sudan), compared to 2008 and 2009, which was partly a result of heightened military operations against LRA during that period. Also, in 2010 only 47 children who were separated from LRA claimed to have been used as combatants, while 244 reported that they were used for forced labour, as opposed to 2009, when the majority of children abducted were reportedly used as combatants. In addition, 96 children reported that they had been victims of sexual exploitation.
In Western Equatoria State of Southern Sudan, 27 children, including 21 girls, were abducted by LRA in 2010. Two Sudanese children who returned from LRA captivity had babies. In addition, incidents of LRA attacks resulted in the confirmed killing of two children and the wounding of one child. Nine girls were raped or sexually abused during captivity. A total of 24 children, including 2 Congolese boys, were rescued by SPLA and UPDF during military operations in 2010.
Several child protection concerns that pertain to UPDF military offensives against LRA in neighbouring countries (see A/64/742-S/2010/181), in particular with regard to the repatriation of Ugandan children and women rescued or escaped from LRA to Uganda were raised by the United Nations with the Government of Uganda. These concerns were reiterated by my Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict during her meeting with the Uganda Chief of Defence Forces, General Aronda Nyakayrima, during her visit to Uganda in May 2010. As a result, it was agreed that the United Nations would draft standard operating procedures for the reception and handover of children and vulnerable women separated from LRA in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Sudan and the Central African Republic. The draft standard operating procedures were shared with UPDF in September, but the document had not been endorsed at the time of writing the present report. In 2010, the majority (77 per cent) of children and young mothers formerly associated with LRA were repatriated to Uganda through the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence or through UPDF child protection units, instead of being handed over immediately to appropriate civilian child protection actors. In addition, according to testimonies given by two children, some children stayed for more than two months with UPDF/Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence before being handed over to child protection agencies.
In Southern Sudan, repatriation and reintegration activities to support children abducted by LRA are being implemented by the Ministries of Social Development in each State. The support includes the repatriation of children back to their home communities in neighbouring States and border countries, interim care, trauma counselling, family tracing and reunification with families. However, the scope of such activities and the capacity of the United Nations to support the Ministries remains limited owing to funding shortages. There is an urgent need for increased institutional and human resource capacity to provide these children with psychosocial rehabilitation programmes.
Parties in Uganda
- Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA)