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06th March 2005 No 92
According to the report, the announcement by the ICC to prosecute Joseph Kony
and other senior LRA commanders is a major impediment to a peaceful resolution
to the conflict in northern
The Director, Refugee Law Project, Mr Zachary Lomo, launched the report yesterday at a press conference at their offices at Old Kampala.
The report titled, "Whose Justice? Perceptions of
A team of investigators from the ICC is in Gulu. It has examined former LRA planner, Mr Kenneth Banya and former spokesman, Mr Sam Kolo.
Military sources said the court would soon release warrants of arrest targeting
five top LRA commanders. But Ms Lucy Hovil, a Senior Researcher, told the
press that in northern
The 30-page report recommends that the ICC should withdraw its investigations and imminent indictment of senior LRA commanders in the interest of the living victims of the conflict and of peace.
Lomo said while the ICC seeks to avenge those who have died, amnesty, which the majority of the people want would save those who are still alive, and the 1.6 million who still bear the brunt of the conflict.
Over 400 people including former rebels, formerly abducted people, Amnesty Commission staff, government officials, non government organisation workers, opinion leaders, internally displaced people (IDPs) among others were interviewed.
When contacted on phone, the leader for the government peace team, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, said the government is "still committed to the peaceful resolution of the conflict.
GULU - The Director General for Development in the European Union, Mr Anders Henrikson, has held talks with former Lord's Resistance Army spokesman, Brig. Sam Kolo, to discuss prospects of continuing peace talks between the LRA rebels and the government.
Kolo told the EU delegation that several rebel LRA commanders and officers were interested in peace negotiations with the government but feared the International Criminal Court (ICC) that is carrying out investigations on atrocities committed in the past 19 years by LRA rebels.
Henrikson said this was his first visit to
Kolo said dialogue does not take place in one day and neither does the war end automatically. He said patience needed to be exercised by the parties involved. "Peace is not a one day thing. It should not be made in a hurry. Confidence building is not easy,' Kolo said.
He denied reports that he was bribed by the Movement government to leave rebellion. "I was not bought off by the government and my surrender should not be taken as a betrayal to my colleagues in the LRA. I had personal reasons for coming out of the bush," Kolo said.
He said the surrender of the other rebel LRA leaders would depend on how the government treats him. Henrikson said he was interested in contributing as much as possible towards the ending of the war.
He held talks with the paramount Chief of Acholi, Rwot David Onen Acana, and religious leaders, who complained about the ICC's intervention in the north, saying it may greatly affect the peace efforts.
They said they preferred the traditional Acholi system of forgiveness and reconciliation. Acana said Kolo should be the main link between the rebels and the government.
He said Kolo's abrupt return from rebellion may cause some delay in the peace
KAMPALA - Sustained violence, displacement and poverty in northern Uganda continue to exacerbate an already strained humanitarian situation, the UN children's agency, UNICEF, said.
In its January humanitarian situation report released on Wednesday, the agency highlighted the plight of the people in the war-affected north, noting that children's rights to basic healthcare, safe water, primary education, protection and shelter remained largely unfulfilled.
UNICEF said acute malnutrition rates in the region were in the range of 7 to 21 percent, while access to boreholes was just 10 to 29 percent among the estimated 1.4 million internally displaced persons (IDPs), 80 percent of whom are children and women residing in more than 200 camps.
"Twenty three percent of children are unable to attend school and 50 percent of schools in the districts have been displaced," the report added.
Chulho Hyun, UNICEF spokesman in
UNICEF was helping in the provision of learning centres, including centres for early-child development, in IDP camps, where basic care was given to children as they were prepared for formal education.
Based on recent figures by the Ugandan finance ministry, the report expressed concern over the trend of poverty in the country, which was especially acute in the north, where an estimated 70 percent of the population lived below the poverty line.
According to UNICEF, access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene services remained critical, including the prevention of cholera and other water-borne diseases in the IDP camps, which are expected with the advent of heavy seasonal rains in March.
"Priority actions in 2005 include construction of 200, five-stance latrines, 25 water systems, repair of 120 boreholes and drilling of 20 boreholes to enable the provision of 15 litres of water per person, per day," the statement noted.
Despite recent improvements in security, UNICEF said that each evening, the threat of attacks and abductions by the LRA still drove approximately 30,000 children, known as "night commuters", to seek the relative safety of urban centres in the towns of Gulu, Kitgum and Pader.
On 22 February, a limited ceasefire between the government and the rebels expired, but the government said peace talks to end hostilities would continue. However, hostilities resumed almost immediately, with at least 10 people killed in renewed clashes.
UNICEF anticipated that the demand for emergency shelter and household items would rise in relation to voluntary relocations by displaced families to areas closer to their communities of origin. "Spontaneous IDP returns are already occurring in some areas - notably in the eastern districts [Kaberamaido, Katakwi and Soroti] - and are likely to progress, depending on political and security developments," the report said.
The LRA, notorious for its brutality,
is fighting to overthrow the
New Vision: Govt short of sh3.8b fees for northern kids
THE Government has a shortfall of over sh3.84b as school fees for students in internally displaced people's camps (IDPs) this financial year, Parliament heard on Wednesday.
The Minister of State for Sports, Charles Bakka-bulindi, said only sh1.7b out of the over sh5.54b required for the students in the camps was released. He was responding to concerns by Ben Wacha (Oyam North) over the issue.
Wacha said on Tuesday that a school in his area had only received sh7,700 per student, yet the Government's commitment had been sh47,000 per student. "I can't see any parent topping up to cover other requirements," he said. He said most schools in the area charge sh65,000 exclusive of food and school uniforms.
Bakkabulindi said the government's policy on the amounts to be contributed had not changed. "The Government has not abdicated its responsibility to contribute towards fees for students whose parents live in IDP camps, as evidenced by regular releases to schools as funds come in from the treasury," he said. He advised headteachers not to send away students because of fees.
Finance state minister Mwesigwa Rukutana said the Government was committed to the policy but there were many other priorities that could not wait. He said his ministry was compiling supplementary budgets for ministries and departments and that fees for students in the camps was part of it.
Avitus Tibarimbasa (Ndorwa East) warned that as the country gets near to elections, some statements must be clarified.
Capt. Charles Byaruha-nga asked the ministers, "If you have not committed funds to implement the policy, is it still among your policies?"
Speaker Edward Sseka-ndi asked the committee on social services to discuss with the two ministers and come up with proposals on the subject.
New Vision: Donors want leaders off NUSAF
DONORS and civil society organisations involved in the Northern Uganda Social Action Fund (NUSAF) have asked politicians to stop disrupting its programmes. They said although there was need for joint monitoring and evaluation, politicians should not usurp the work of the project implementers. The donors were being briefed about NUSAF programmes and the level of implementation.
The workshop was attended by stakeholders from the Japanese government, representatives of the World Bank, the Food and Agricultural organisation, various UN agencies and NGOs.
State minister for northern Uganda Betty Akecth said NUSAF was not duplicating the decentralisation programme as some politicians alleged. "They say we are building schools and health centres when the local governments are doing the same. But it is the people who identify what they need in their area, and get money to do it," she said.
She said NUSAF was a community programme, and ideas on its improvement were welcome.
NUSAF chairman Martin Odwedo said since its inception in February 2003, the programme had supported planning and implementation of water and health projects, community road construction and poverty eradication. He lauded the Northern Uganda Youth Action Fund for empowering the youth who have been traumatised by the war.
New Vision: Sh60b for northern districts
ABOUT sh60b will soon be released by the Northern uganda Social Action Fund (NUSAF) unit to fund community projects in 18 districts of northern Uganda, the unit's executive director has said. Dr. Fred Opio was recently speaking at a workshop at Pan Afric Hotel, Lira. "I challenge you to ensure that pending community projects are approved to absorb the sh60b before June," Opio said. He said more than 1,600 projects had been funded with sh25m.
To meet the June deadline, Opio called upon employees to be vigilant and develop team spirit, collaboration, transparency and hard work in order to wipe out poverty.
A World Bank social protection specialist, Mungai Lenneiye, warned employees against corruption. He asked employees to disseminate accurate and appropriate information.
New Vision: Acana II opens 1b/- TASO centre
A sh1b regional centre for The AIDS Support Organisation (TASO) has been opened in Gulu. The storeyed TASO building located along Dr. Mathew Lukwiya road in Gulu town was commissioned by Rwot Onen Acana II on Saturday.
The executive director of TASO, Dr. Alex Coutinho, said the cost included furnishing the building and buying a generator. "We have also earmarked sh1.4b per year to run the centre for the next three years," Coutinho said.
He said TASO had set up the building with funding from the
Acana said cultural leaders had a big role in the fight against HIV/AIDS. "People say it is through cultural practices like wife inheritance and polygamy that HIV prevalence is high. But we shall work towards changing the culture for the better," he said. Acana warned the people against using witchdoctors as a way of fighting AIDS and other diseases.
Vision: 50% mine victims die before hospital
OVER 50% of land mine victims in the north, mainly children and women, die before reaching hospital, district rehabilitation officer Bernard Ocen has said.
He said in the last three years 422 mine victims were treated and others received artificial limbs from AVSI, an Italian aid agency. "About 70% of land mine victims are male, 66% are aged between 19-45 and 10% are under 18," Ocen told community leaders at Acholi-Inn hotel in Gulu town recently.
A UPDF land mine specialist Capt. Eng. Wilson Kabeera said since 2001, the army had recovered 693 land mines during operations against the LRA rebels. "Chances of land mines hitting civilians will remain for decades after the war," Ocen said. He said 43% of other cases in the hospitals were related to trauma.
New Vision: Sleeping sickness kills ten in Lira district
Sleeping sickness has killed 10 people in Dokolo sub-county in Lira district. The officer in charge of Dokolo health unit, Michael Oleke, said over 60 people had been admitted in the unit and others in Kaberamaido hospital.
Oleke was meeting state minister for primary healthcare Dr. Alex Kamugisha during his visit to the health centre on Sunday.
Kamugisha, who was on a fact- finding mission in the sub-county, said the government was trying to contain the situation.
State minister for children affairs Felix Okot Ogong, LC3 chairman Ejabu Ewila and woman councillor for Bata and Dokolo sub-counties Kia Molly Okello attended.
New Vision: Women to steer growth in north
of the women and youth in community work in northern
Prof. Gilbert Bukenya was addressing Lango women at a forum to discuss post-war rehabilitation on Tuesday. He urged them to mobilise people to increase household income by engaging in useful economic activities.
The over 1,5000 women, most of whom had recently crossed from the Uganda People's Congress to the Movement, were led by Lira district Women Council chairperson, Dolly Okullo.
A statement said Bukenya advised the women to produce fast and high yielding crop varieties like Nerica III and Superica II upland rice varieties and sunflower. He assured them that they would soon return to their land once the LRA are defeated.
(a) New Vision: IDPs
Walter Ochora announced this on Thursday at the launch of the IDP policy at Speke resort Munyonyo. He said in the first phase, 3,500 IDPs in Palenga would access free tractor services.
(b) New Vision: Youth
GULU - About 3,000 youth will be trained on construction techniques of semi-permanent houses, the LC5 chairman has said.
Walter Ochora (above) said the programme was under the Commonwealth village fund, aimed at building low cost houses for the poor in the villages.
(c) New Vision: Arms
GULU - The Uganda National focal Point on Small Arms and Light Weapons (UNFPSALW) on Tuesday set up a northern task force to fight illegal possession of firearms and control their use.
The task force has members from the Police, the army, prisons, customs and civil organisations.
New Vision, Monitor, BBC, IRIN, Rupiny, MEGA
FM, Simba FM, The
G= Gulu, K= Kitgum, P= Pader; L=LRA, U= UPDA & LDU, O= Others
data is extracted from different sources
(b) International Crisis Working Group, 2005. "Peace in
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