A video from Invisibility Children, a human rights group set to end atrocities in Uganda, has gone viral and is bringing attention to one of the world’s lesser known human rights abuses. It specifically targets Joseph Kony, leader of the infamous rebel group, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), which has kidnapped 30,000 children—turning the boys into child soldiers and the girls into sex slaves.
It’s about time this is coming to light. I did a story on this way back in 2007, when Annette Mukabera, the youngest woman elected to parliament in Uganda, came to San Diego. It was interesting. She didn’t seem like she was going to touch on the subject, until someone in the audience popped the question (and received some angry glares from a handful of people).
She noted the conflict in Northern Uganda is one of the larger issues the country is now facing. It started in 1986 when the last regime fell, and according to her, “This conflict is about land. The land in the North is culturally owned, and those who know to whom the land belongs are the elders. But unfortunately for some of the communities, most of the elders have died as a result of the war.”
“A group known as the Lord’s Resistance Army emerged and began to launch attacks on villages throughout the area, stealing supplies, and kidnapping people, forcing many boys to become soldiers and girls to become slaves. There is the trauma that the war is causing on the people of the North, and that is what we should focus on, how to bring peace to that region.”
“They get the children to identify and kill their closest relative. Afterwards they have nothing to lose and they are afraid to return home. The rebels have conditioned young children to become killing machines. When they’re grown, those young men fear to come back home because they have killed their own people in the process,” she said.
At the time, she made it sound like the conflict was coming to an end. The Ugandan government was trying to kill off the LRA and set up camps for displaced people. She said the conflict became less serious in 2004, but was still going on. The government at the time was encouraging people to leave the camps and return to their homes.
It’s really a terrible thing happening there. There are many large, yet little known atrocities taking place today. In addition to Uganda, some of the more serious ones are the torture and killing of Falun Gong practitioners for their organs in China (they’re the largest group of prisoners of conscious in the world), and the genocide in Congo over conflict minerals that has led to the death of more than five million people.
Check out the video below, and I encourage you to spread this.