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November 11, 2003

Uganda Plea for Help

The UN is asking member nations to increase humanitarian aid to Uganda. The country, as ravaged by war as any other African nation, and more fully depleted than most, is another of that continent's failures. The question, as with most of Africa, is whether the member nations will respond, and what response is appropriate.

Speaking in Nairobi following a two-day visit to northern Uganda, [Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs] Egeland said the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) planned to launch the appeal on 19 November, when it would urge donors to increase funding for humanitarian aid.

"This is not a war in which the population is affected by the collateral damage. It is a war which is directed against the civilian population and children," Egeland said. "How can we live with a situation where nearly 1,000 children are being abducted every month to become killing machines."

Egeland, who described the situation in northern Uganda as the "world's biggest, neglected, ignored" humanitarian crisis, also lamented the lack of humanitarian access for the displaced population, which he said had reached 1.3 million. He pledged to help increase the humanitarian presence of UNOCHA and other UN agencies in the region.

Certainly an increase in humanitarian aid is a good thing, but the root of the problem is in the war itself. The UN--and, more importantly, other African nations--need to consider what kind of a direct intervention could help to end the struggle.

The article I reference goes on to describe the life of one of the young boys forcibly recruited to fight for the rebel LRA.

Patrick [the 13 year old boy] described to the delegation how he was forced to kill one of his commander's bodyguards and sit on the body before cutting up victims of an LRA assault and putting them in a large cooking pot.

What is the appropriate international response to that image of a boy forced to be a soldier? Shot three times in the leg and rescued from his captors, he's one of the lucky ones.

Read the story.

Posted by zombyboy at November 11, 2003 01:09 PM

Four years ago, I thought humanity couldn't get lower than Sierra Leone's RUF....

Posted by: Brian at November 19, 2003 07:54 PM
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