State of the World's Minorities 2007 - Uganda
|Publisher||Minority Rights Group International|
|Publication Date||4 March 2007|
|Cite as||Minority Rights Group International, State of the World's Minorities 2007 - Uganda, 4 March 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48a9712955.html [accessed 19 September 2014]|
In Uganda during 2006, the search for an end to the brutalizing war of the north gathered pace, as the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), notorious for abducting children and turning them into killers, signalled a willingness to negotiate following its leaders' indictment in 2005 by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Under British colonial rule the Acholi people of northern Uganda were favoured for service in the police and army. When Milton Obote seized power in 1966, four years after independence, he surrounded himself with Acholi and other northerners, and repressed southern peoples. Idi Amin, himself a northerner from the minority Kakwa group in the West Nile area, unleashed horrific retribution against the Acholi from 1972 to 1979. Rebel leader Yoweri Museveni, a southerner, came to power in 1985, and brought increasing stability and prosperity to Uganda, with exception of the north.
For 20 years, the Acholi have been victimized by the LRA. The rebel group receives support from the Sudanese government and are led by an erratic Acholi named Joseph Kony. The LRA has abducted an estimated 25,000 children over the years, forcing them to commit heinous atrocities against the Acholi people. In response, Museveni's government has forced 1.4 to 1.9 million civilians into camps where they remain prone to attack by the LRA and the national army alike, and unable to grow their own food. The ICC issued arrest warrants for Kony and four other LRA leaders on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in February 2005. Through 2006, the LRA has insisted on immunity from prosecution in exchange for an end to the fighting. Acholi opinion on the matter is divided. Negotiations are continuing despite the international indictments; the discussions included a meeting between Kony and UN Under-Secretary-General Jan Egeland.
In July 2006, the Uganda Land Alliance for Coalition of Pastoral Civil Society Organizations warned that the few thousand Batwa (Twa) of Uganda are in danger of extinction. The organization's report warned of starvation and loss of social cohesion among desperate Batwa who lost their homes in the Bwindi Impenetrable Game Park when this became a World Heritage Site for preservation of endangered mountain gorillas in 1992.