Posts Tagged ‘activism’

The stealth boat belonging to anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd, Ady Gil, has reportedly been cut in half by a Japanese security vessel in the Antarctic.

Captain Watson told The Age online the $1.5 milliion high tech vessel’s remains were sinking. It’s six man crew had been rescued and was uninjured.

He said the Ady Gil was idling in waters near Commonwealth Bay when it was suddenly approached and rammed by the Japanese ship Shonan Maru, which has been detailed to provide security to the fleet.

Earlier today the fleet was contacted for the first time by the Ady Gil, and Sea Shepherd’s surprise third vessel, the Bob Barker.

Captain Watson, aboard the Steve Irwin, said he was still 500 miles from the scene.

“This seriously escalates the whole situation,” Captain Watson said of the collision.

“According to the Institute of Cetacean Research, the Ady Gil’s crew were launching projectiles at the Nisshin Maru, and attempted to entangle its propellors with rope.”

The biodiesel-powered trimaran Ady Gil had arrived at the Southern Ocean stand-off between Japanese whalers and activists yesterday, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

It was reported this morning to be about 50 nautical miles away from the whaling fleet.

Japan’s Fisheries Minister Hirotaka Akamatsu had earlier warned two security ships would be used to protect the whaling fleet, intervening when Sea Shepherd tried to block the transfer of harpooned whales to the factory ship Nisshin Maru.

Captain Watson this morning announced the existence of a secret third ship in the Sea Shepherd flotilla.

He said he was confident that with three ships, Sea Shepherd would be able to cause maximum disruption to the whaling, which has been underway for around a month.

The Rudd Government has repeatedly called for caution by both sides in the wilds of the Antarctic.

“We have reminded the masters of protest vessels of their obligations under international law to take all steps to ensure safety of life at sea, particularly in the inhospitable conditions of the Southern Ocean,” Environment Minister Peter Garrett told the SMH recently.

“We are also passing the same message to the government of Japan.”

via Anti-whaling ship ‘cut in half’ – Story – National – 3 News.

A New Zealand public relations guru is said to have paid for Japanese spy planes which have been keeping an eye on anti-whaling protesters in the Southern Ocean.

Reports say Glenn Inwood’s Omeka Public Relations company, which works for Japan’s Institute of Cetacean Research, chartered planes in Hobart and Albany to track the Sea Shepherd’s ship, the Steve Irwin, in December.

Sea Shepherd founder and Steve Irwin captain Paul Watson claims Mr Inwood put the “spy flights” on his credit card.

“The Japanese are spending an incredible amount of money this year. They’ve dedicated two vessels just to tail us and the latest flights out of Melbourne and Hobart cost them about $20,000,” he told the ABC.

“These surveillance flights are aiding an illegal operation and they should be stopped,” Mr Watson said.

“Japanese whaling is illegal – it’s a poaching operation.

“The Australian Government recognises it as illegal. They are taking whales in the Australian-Antarctic territory and they are in contempt of an Australian Federal Court order.”

The ABC attempted to contact Mr Inwood without success.

Read the full report here via PR guru ‘paid for whalers’ spy flights’ – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).

The Lord’s Resistance Army (also Lord’s Resistance Movement or Lakwena Part Two) is a sectarian Christian militant group based in northern Uganda.

The group was formed in 1987 and is engaged in an armed rebellion against the Ugandan government in what is now one of Africa‘s longest-running conflicts. It is led by Joseph Kony, who proclaims himself the “spokesperson” of God and a spirit medium, primarily of the Holy Spirit, which the Acholi believe can represent itself in many manifestations.[3] The group adheres to a syncretistic[4] blend of Christianity, Mysticism,[5] traditional religion,[6] and witchcraft,[7] and claims to be establishing a theocratic state based on the Ten Commandments and Acholi tradition.[3][8][9][10] The LRA is accused of widespread human rights violations, including murder, abduction, mutilation, sexual enslavement of women and children, and forcing children to participate in hostilities.[11] The LRA operates mainly in northern Uganda, but also in parts of Sudan and DR Congo.[12][13]

The LRA is currently proscribed as a terrorist organization by the United States.[14]

See more on : Lord’s Resistance Army – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

YouTube – “Northern Uganda: A History of Suffering” pt. 1.

Orientale Province

Since late 2008, the civilian population of Haut and Bas-Uélé has been caught up in a dramatic cycle of violence linked to attacks perpetrated by the Ugandan rebel group the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), and the Ugandan and Congolese offensive against the LRA. As the situation deteriorates, civilians also find themselves facing increasing banditry.

One year after violence erupted in Haut-Uélé district, in northern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), attacks and clashes have now expanded to new areas, forcing hundreds of thousands of people to flee. MSF is working in five locations of Haut-Uélé and Bas-Uélé to bring free health care, emergency aid, and psychological support to the displaced and resident populations.

Haut-Uélé

From June to September, MSF conducted 2,800 outpatient consultations in the two health centres it supports in Namboli and Lipay, in the Dungu area. Most patients were treated for malaria, diarrhoea, and respiratory infections.

In Dungu hospital, MSF medical teams performed 452 surgeries, cared for 100 severely malnourished children, and for another 220 children with a variety of other health problems.

Since August, MSF has also worked in reproductive health and supports the hospital’s maternity department, where sexually transmitted infections are common.

Teams provided psychological support for 88 patients who had suffered as a result of the violence.

Doruma, a town on the border with Sudan, is at the heart of a very insecure area. The population of Doruma and the 12,000 people who have fled there are at risk of hunger – it is too dangerous for them to go to their fields and tend their crops.

MSF supports three health centres where 2,500 outpatient consultations have been carried out this year. MSF also supports the hospital in Doruma, where 94 patients were hospitalised in September. In October, MSF began providing mental health support and treatment for sleeping sickness, in addition to supporting the surgical and maternity wards.

Niangara is the main town at the crossroads leading to the Central African Republic and Southern Sudan. Around 11,000 displaced people have arrived in the town, fleeing violence. MSF is supporting the main referral hospital in Niangara and the nearby Wawé health centre.

Since the start of MSF activities there seven months ago, medical teams have carried out up to 1,000consultations per week at the general hospital and the Wawé health centre.

Each month, around 100 new patients are admitted to Niangara hospital. MSF is mainly treating malaria, respiratory infections, sexually transmitted infections and stress-related diseases.

MSF teams put a psychosocial programme in place to help the local population cope with the trauma and stress of continuous violence and displacement. Between June and early November, 80 patients received treatment.

Following attacks in December 2008, MSF started to provide medical and psychological care in Faradje. Teams cared for more than 100 children, both boys and girls, who had been abducted by armed men and then escaped or were released. They were given a place to sleep, a space to play, and individual support from an MSF psychologist. This programme has been handed over to another organisation.

MSF continues to support Faradje hospital, where some 11,000 patients have received consultations and 900 were treated in the maternity, paediatric, surgical or internal medicine departments. The main diseases treated here are malaria, intestinal parasites and skin infections.

MSF Activities | Condition: Critical.

Daily Monitor: Truth Everyday; Uganda News, Business, Travel, Sports, Elections  – ROAD TO 2011: Big battle for Gulu on the cards.

Kampala — ANOTHER LRA rebel commander has surrendered in eastern Congo, the Ugandan army has said.

‘Captain’ Ocen turned himself in to the Congolese army in Paika two days before Christmas, according to Capt. Peter Mugisa, the UPDF spokesman for West Nile region.

Ocen was one of the LRA officers under the command of Okello Kalalang who committed horrendous atrocities in northern Uganda and eastern Congo.

“Kalalang was one of Kony’s most notorious commanders who burnt down houses after killing and abducting hundreds of Congolese,” said Mugisa.

The LRA carried out reprisal attacks after the armies of Congo, Southern Sudan and Uganda launched a joint military offensive on the rebel bases in Garamba National Park.

The offensive, dubbed ‘Operation Lightning Thunder’, was launched after LRA leader Joseph Kony refused to sign the final peace agreement after two years of protracted talks in Juba, Sudan.

Mugisa said Ocen surrendered with a gun and 30 rounds of ammunition, as well as four fighters under his command. They were transferred to the battalion headquarters in Duru.

This brings to 56 the number of fighters who have defected since the joint operation started a year ago.

According to figures released by the UPDF on Monday, another 305 rebels were killed, 41 captured and 513 abductees rescued since December 2008.

Mugisa noted that the continued surrender of LRA fighters signals the end of the insurgency.

“This trend implies that the UPDF have dealt the LRA bandits a decisive blow through comprehensive combat engagement,” he said.

“The remaining LRA fugitives no longer deserve to be called rebels. They are bandits because they are scattered in four countries with no clear central command structure.”

Ocen is expected to be flown to Entebbe or Gulu army headquarters.

Samuel Obali, who surrendered in November, said they were also forced to surrender because of the constant pursuit by the UPDF forces in the CAR, DR-Congo and Southern Sudan.

“We had no food, water, medicine and lacked communication with the central command. We had to organise ourselves and surrender to the Congolese Armed Forces in order to survive.”

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on Monday released a damning report, saying at least 1,200 people were killed, 1,400 abducted, and 230,000 displaced in eastern Congo during 10 months of LRA rampage.

“These attacks and systematic and widespread human rights violations carried out by the LRA may constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity,” the report said.

A second report, issued the same day, described a similar pattern of LRA attacks in neighbouring Southern Sudan.

It documented 30 LRA attacks between December 2008 and March 2009 in Western and Central Equatoria states in which at least 81 civilians were killed, 74 abducted and 11 villages pillaged.

As reported: allAfrica.com: Uganda: Notorious LRA Rebel Surrenders.

Enough, the anti-genocide project at the Center for  American Progress, released the following statement today regarding incursions by the Lord’s Resistance Army rebel group against civilians in the Democratic Republic of the Congo:

Recent interviews conducted by Enough Project researchers traveling in Haut Uele and Bas Uele in Province Orientale, in northern Congo, suggest that the Lord’s Resistance Army–a transnational terrorist group with a 20-year record of atrocities–is threatening to repeat the massacres it committed during Christmas 2008, in which over 800 Congolese civilians were brutally murdered. Meanwhile, Congolese army units deployed to protect local populations from the LRA continue to commit grave abuses against Congolese civilians. // The LRA have killed nearly 1,500 Congolese civilians and abducted 3,000 more (including at least 700 children) since the Ugandan army launched an offensive against the LRA in December 2008. The presence of 6,000 Congolese soldiers in Province Orientale–many of them integrated brigades of former rebels and local militia from the troubled Kivu provinces in eastern Congo–has actually made matters worse. The U.N. Mission in the Congo, or MONUC, has deployed to the affected region, but peacekeepers conduct only limited patrols in some LRA-affected area that provide little deterrent against LRA attacks and Congolese army abuses. A battalion of Tunisian reinforcements that was supposed to deploy in June 2009 has yet to arrive.

Read the full report Below

allAfrica.com: Congo-Kinshasa: Lord’s Resistance Army’s Sends Chilling Threat to Congolese Civilians – We Will Celebrate Christmas With You Page 1 of 1.

So here it is again, that time of year when everyone is out there rushing around trying to figure out what to buy their friends or family for christmas. Me, i just don’t get it, why do we spend hundreds of dollars on toys that sit in toy boxes and barely get used cuz they simply  have “too much” to play with!? I honestly don’t see the point anymore, i’d find myself tearing my hair out with all these toys everywhere, yet they didnt get played with more like just dumped out of the box in the never ending search for something else!

So this year ive decided to change my ways of buying for my family. I’m giving a gift of sustainability, a gift that in turn keeps on giving. There are so many of these gifts right under your nose and you probably don’t even know it!

Support a great non profit and shop in their store! However, always remember THERE IS a DIFFERENCE between a Charity and a Non Profit!

So to get you started here are some great tips on places to give a great gift yet it keeps on giving through programs implemented by the organisations.

Invisible Children – Check out this cool store for Dvd’s & Bracelets, Cool Tshirts, Beanies, Scarves, Bags, Books & More. Each $$ goes back into on the ground programs to help those affected by war in Northern Uganda

Compassion – Gifts of Compassion – A great way to support a person in need.

All For Charity – A range of Items with 100% of Royalties going to either Invisible Children or Betty (Child headed household in Uganda)

Shop Sea Shepherd – Give a great gift and give our Whales a head start this Whaling Season! Awesome Shirts (Check out Whale Wars on Animal Planet!)

Thats just to mention a few.  This Christmas remember, that yes its nice to give a gift to the ones we love but no need to over do it, remember there are over 1 billion hungry people right now, so whilst your shovelling down the lovely christmas day lunch, take time out to thank those around you for your good fortune and to remember those who are less fortunate that yourself. A gift to a stranger can bring more happiness than you can imagine.

Hope you all have a lovely Christmas time.

So i’ve finally decided!! I’m submitting my application to University of Western Sydney for Bachelor of Social Sciences Peace and Development!  It was a tough decision between that and Bachelor of Communications Journalism but i finally decided. I think it would be a great thing to be formally trained in an area i am passionate in. I’m really looking forward to going to University, as i really never thought i would get a chance to do it.

Through volunteering with Invisible Children i have uncovered a side of me that id never really knew existed. I want to continue to expand, grow and further my knowledge so i can in turn be of more help to those who require it the most.

So…Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes are in the air for me and my life and i really am excited. I’m going to apply to start mid year so that way i have around 6 months to get my medication settled and hopefully all my ongoing tests done and be cleared for start June 2010!

Hi Everyone. I am seeking sponsors to help send me go on my Volunteer Trip to Northern Uganda. CLICK HERE to visit my Sponsorship Page

During my time in Uganda i will be visiting what is left of the Displacement Camps in Northern Uganda as well as spending some volunteer time in the Invisible Children office in Gulu. and the Compassion centre in Kaboywa and visiting the Northern Ugandan Villages that are currently being rebuilt.

Northern Uganda has been rocked by a raging war over the last 23 years and peace is only now starting to return to Northern Uganda. These people have been in displacement camps since approx 1996 and require help, councelling, food and much more to re-start their lives in their old villages. visit www.invisiblechildren.com to watch the documentary and see what they are doing for the people of Uganda.

Travelling Between June – December 2011 and staying for 3/6 weeks.

I am currently a volunteer for Invisible Children Australia and sponsor 6 children Uganda as well. I am aiming to spend 3-6 weeks in Uganda doing volunteer work and expanding my knowledge on the area and affected persons so that i can fully understand the needs of these people to help continue to commit myself to the Invisible children cause as Company Secretary for IC AUS – All Australian positions are volunteer only and we are not employed by Invisible Children or receive any monetary goods or cash for our actions.

As a mother of 3 children myself i am currently unable to cover all the costs associated with getting the tickets and travel arrangements covered as well as the associated costs with the camera’s and such to be able to document this journey for my sponsors. I have been a volunteer my whole life with my parents through Lions Club International but have found my own calling in invisible children.

I will be documenting my journey through Uganda through video and pictures. I have created the website FreeUganda and currently run this as well as the twitter page @freeuganda and a blog as well as run the offical Invisible Children OZ Twitter @InvisibleOZ and i also run ALL FOR CHARITY store with 100% of profits are donated.

Each sponsorship amount is greatly appreciated and i urge you all to join up to FreeUganda to check out what is going on in Uganda and the status of sponsorship etc.

I Thank you kindly for your sponsorship as without your support i will not be able to fulfill this mission in my life.

Thats right!! Until 10/12 you can get FREE SHIPPING to AU when you purchase over $45 worth of products from our store.

All For Charity

Remember! 100% of the royalties on each item made is donated to either: Invisible Children, The Coalition (to stop the use of) Child Soldiers and to a Child Headed Family in Uganda of 5 Children – You can view more details here re: betty and her family.

All these items have been created to raise awareness whilst the royalties go to great non-profits or direct to betty (via joy for children uganda) to help where needed.

If you go through our webstore via the link above and purchase something from someone else’s store, we ill be paid a referral fee for this and in turn any and all referral fee’s we receive we will pass onto Betty in Uganda/Invisible Children.

So far we have made in Royalties $45 and this will be donated at the end of December 2009. To give you an idea we make between 0.40c and $7.50 royalties depending on the item.

I want to thank everyone who has purchased items from this store, your helping to bring awareness to those around you and also helping those who are far away.

THANK YOU

So i’ve kinda neglected my journals a bit lately as ive been quite busy at work and home. I’m finishing my job in December of this year and moving further up the NSW coast to be near Newcastle due to my health issues with being a hypothyroidism.

So lately what i’ve been doing is not as much as i normally do but that will all change again soon.  Ive been steady on twitter with both the official Invisible Children AUS Account and my own personal one. Designing shirts and stuff for the All For Charity Store and spending some overdue quality time with my kiddies. Also don’t forget to visit my website FreeUganda

Ill update my journal shortly with things i’ve done over the past month, highlights if you will of things attended, people met etc.

I really thank you all for following what i do and would ask that this Christmas, give the gift of giving! purchase something from a non profit or agency that supports those in need, a gift that keeps on giving! In such hard economic times we need to stand together and support the missions of change happening all around the world. Change can come, but it requires perseverance and dedication. are you dedicated?

My All For Charity store has just gotten even better at supporting Africa.  Our range has now gone EDUN LIVE – a great range of African farmed cotton and made tshirts. Information as below:

From EDUN LIVE, the Adam Organic t-shirt is super comfy and ultra soft. A straight-fit tee, its 100% Ecocert certified organic, ring-spun African cotton, combed for comfort (145g.) Tumble dry low. (Not pre-washed). Washes like a dream. Made in Uganda using sustainable manufacturing practices.

From EDUN LIVE, the Eve Organic t-shirt is ultra soft. A straight-fit tee, it’s 100% Ecocert certified organic, ring-spun African cotton, combed for comfort (145g.) Reinforced stitching. Tumble dry low. (Not pre-washed). Washes like a dream. Made in Uganda using sustainable manufacturing practices.

So feel great knowing that not only are the profits of the shirts going back to those in Uganda – (betty’s family and Invisible Children) but also the shirts themselves are sustaining those in Uganda!

The situation in northern Democratic Republic of Congo where Lord’s Resistance Army rebels operate is getting worse, a medical charity says.

Medecins Sans Frontieres told the BBC hundreds of thousands of people are fleeing renewed rebel attacks.

LRA leader Joseph Kony once operated from Uganda but his fighters now cover a vast area of central Africa.

Analysts says attempts this year by regional armed forces to halt the brutal campaign have so far failed.

The armies of Uganda, southern Sudan and DR Congo have been carrying out offensives against the rebels since Mr Kony refused to sign a peace deal late last year.

The rebels are infamous for carrying out mutilations and have kidnapped tens of thousands of children to be fighters and sex slaves.

Tens of thousands of people have also been made homeless during the LRA’s two-decade insurgency.

‘Living in fear’

MSF says roads in northern DR Congo are now so insecure that aircraft are being used to take supplies and staff to remote locations.

“The situation is really bad: the people are living in constant fear, they’re fleeing,” MSF’s Operational Director Meine Nicolai told the BBC’s Network Africa programme.

“The violence pops up in different areas and it’s really expanding. It came to Congo in 2008 and now it’s going more and more eastwards so the area is expanding and people live in constant fear.”

Ms Nicolai said civilians were being targeted.

“People are kidnapped, raped, their houses are burned; they’re fleeing, they leave everything and there’s no way that they can return.”

She said people desperately need food, water, medical care and psychological support.

Reports from the region suggest there are several groups of LRA fighters: some in DR Congo and another 1,300-strong force in the Central African Republic, led by one of Mr Kony’s deputies.

Mr Kony himself is reportedly moving northwards, with reports suggesting Ugandan special forces are using helicopters to attack his group from Yambio in southern Sudan.

BBC Africa analyst Martin Plaut says there are also suggestions, yet to be confirmed, that Mr Kony’s aim is to take his forces into the Sudanese region of South Darfur.

Last year Mr Kony, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity,

failed to sign a peace deal with the Uganda government brokered by southern Sudan.

READ THE FULL REPORT HERE

Attacks attributed to Ugandan-led rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) have killed at least 188 civilians and displaced 68,000 in Southern Sudan since January 2009, with 137 abductions also reported, according to the UN.

“Many innocent people are losing their lives every week, and the United Nations is very concerned about the killing, abduction, maiming and displacement of innocent civilians,” said Ameerah Haq, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Sudan.

In Sudan, Western Equatoria State has been hardest hit by the recent upsurge in attacks blamed on the LRA, which have also taken place in several regions in neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the Central African Republic (CAR).

Very unfair

“During the last six weeks alone, 11 incidents of LRA attacks have been reported, seven of them in the first week of September,” Mr Haq told reporters on September 11 during a visit to Yambio, the state capital of Western Equatoria.

In Nairobi, Mr Justin Labeja, the head of the LRA’s peace negotiating team, questioned the authorship of the attacks.

“It is very unfair because nobody can come up with clear concrete evidence. Who can say this is the LRA of (leader Joseph) Kony who is doing this?” he said.

What the “real LRA” is any more is hard to pin down. When it emerged in northern Uganda in the late 1980s the LRA was made up almost exclusively of people from the region’s Acholi community, fighting perceived marginalisation.

The LRA now includes nationals from Sudan, the DRC and CAR – many as a result of recruitment-by-abduction. In Southern Sudan “LRA” has been used as a catch-all label for any armed group which attacks civilians.

However, those displaced by the latest attacks reported tactics which bore the hallmarks of the LRA, including grotesque killings and targeting church congregations.

Combating the small groups of guerrillas – experienced in jungle warfare and able to slip across international frontiers with apparent ease – has become a hard task.

Providing food

“There is not much coming from the (Sudanese) state, they are not able to provide the security that they (people) need,” said Mr Haq.

“While the humanitarian community is providing food and other non-food items, the food itself is becoming a magnet for LRA attacks… The answer to that is really how we can provide security around a perimeter.”

Extra troops from the south’s military, the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), have been sent to the region, according to spokesman Maj-Gen Kuol Diem Kuol.

“We are working hard and doing all we can to ensure the safety of civilians in the region,” he explained.

The main military force are Ugandan troops, whose soldiers have established camps in Sudan to try and hunt down the now mobile LRA units in Southern Sudan, DRC and CAR.

The UN peacekeeping mission in Sudan (UNMIS) has just 200 blue helmets based in the sprawling region of Western Equatoria.

Officials said the force has been stretched by a string of recent violent inter-ethnic clashes elsewhere in Southern Sudan.

Its mandate, one official added, needed to be beefed up by the UN Security Council to allow active military engagement against the LRA.

“We need an integrated approach to really provide security to these people, [and] that will require the support of the UN and UNMIS,” said Jemma Nunu Kumba, the governor of Western Equatoria.

“UNMIS needs to get involved just like MONUC (the UN peacekeeping mission) in Congo (DRC), to be able to repulse the rebels when they are attacking the civilians,” he added.

‘’The LRA will remain a problem and we will be unable to go home until pressure is really put on them by all sides’’

Those displaced by the LRA say more effort is needed, not simply to hunt the rebels, but to provide security that would allow people to return to their homes.

“The LRA have killed our people, and they took two of my children,” said Karina Zeferino, who fled after attacks in August on her hometown of Ezo, close to Sudan’s border with CAR.

She trekked the 155km to Yambio town with her remaining young daughter.

After the attacks, peacekeepers airlifted UN staff and aid workers from Ezo by helicopter, shutting down international humanitarian work in that area.

“People are suffering, but we cannot go home because the LRA will attack again,” added Zeferino, holding her child tightly to her side. “There is no help for us there, so that is why we have come to Yambio, but it is hard here too.”

“The LRA will remain a problem and we will be unable to go home until pressure is really put on them by all sides,” said Gaaniko Bate, a leader of the ever-growing Makpandu camp in Southern Sudan, which hosts some 2,530 refugees from DRC.

“These people will not be easily stopped,” he added. (IRIN)

As reported on Nation.co.ke

(An Article i wrote for Female2Female.co.za)

Not many know, but northern Uganda has been terrorised by war since approx 1986, those most affected by this war are the Acholi women and children.

In 1994 the Museveni Government of Uganda, forced the Acholi people out of their villages and into displacement camps, in what they say were camps designed to protect the Acholi against the Lords Resistance Army rebel attacks, however the camps were largely unprotected, and approx 35,000 children have been abducted since this war started.

In the Camps, Women face on a daily basis, violence, poverty, hunger and complete hopelessness. There is no room to grow crops and farm within the camps so the women and children need to leave the relative safety of the camps and farm elsewhere, leaving them open to be raped, abducted or murdered by the rebels. Starting their day to find the food they need to use for the days meal, a womans day in the camps is basically spent, securing, cooking and providing the days meal.

Children are faced each day with a struggle to survive, at the height of the disaster in approx 2003 2005, thousands of children used to commute from the IDP camps and villages to the main towns to seek safety and refuge from the rebels, their homes were no longer safe for them to be at night. The rebels used to come during the night and kidnap the children, slaughtering families and leaving hundreds fleeing for safety. These children were known as the Night Commuters. Since approx 06/07 most night commuting has now ceased due to the rebels leaving the northern Uganda area.

Over the last few years the rebel group has moved from northern Ugandan area and into Southern Sudan, DR Congo and Central African Republic, abducting more children and women, and leaving hundreds of thousands of people displaced.

Due to being in IDP camps there are no real concrete statistics as to the number of those abducted/missing but estimates are between 35,000 and 66,000 Children have been abducted, missing, or killed due to this war.

Today, relative calm in Northern Uganda has seen around 600,000 IDP 217s return home to their villages in Kitgum/Pader and Gulu Region. The daily struggles are still high for those in these areas. Poverty and Famine are everyday killers of children, education is limited, primary education is free but secondary is not, most of the returning IDPS have no income and cannot simply afford to educate their children so once primary education has finished so has the education for most Northern Ugandan Children.

Undetonated landmines are still highly dangerous in the fields nearby to the war zones and corpses/bones are still being found in fields along with abandoned artillery. HIV/AIDS is prevalent among northern Ugandans as they have no way or means for contraception. Rape is used as weapon of war and fear and many women in the north have been abused in some way.

Hepatitis E had a major outbreak recently in Northern Uganda due to the IDPs returning home to villages left unmanned since 1996/1996 and are forced to drink unsanitary water thus spreading water borne diseases such as Hepatitis E, stomach bugs including Diarrhoea and nodding disease.

In recent months, child sacrifices have been on the increase in Northern Uganda with up to 10 children so far in the last few months having fallen victim to child sacrifice.

The conditions of life for the Women and Children of Northern Uganda at this point in time is one of extreme poverty, famine and suffering.

Invisible Children a Non Profit organisation is working closely with the Acholi in Northern Uganda, creating micro-economic programs to help support the IDPs as well as educating over 750 children and re-building the schools of Northern Uganda. For more information or to see video’s of the IDP Camps visit Invisible Children and discover the unseen.

by: Rebecca Fowler

At Save The Aids Orphans Uganda, The number of kids has lately moved up from 69 to 80 due to the increasing need in the community where local leaders have continued to plead with us to take in the most desperate kids in the community.

While my mind reasons that taking in more is impractical, my heart bleeds upon looking these teary kids in the faces and turning them away. I understand that STAO can’t help all the needy kids in the communities but we felt like taking in just 11 more would be bearable.

The challenge however has been the state of the accommodation premises. We have rooms at present, which would well take care of 80 kids with each room taking in 7 to 8 kids and 1 caregiver. However, because we lack such supplies as beds, mattresses, blankets, bed sheets, mosquito nets and some refurbishment of the rooms i.e. plastering and painting. If we got these in place, our children would have some dignity in the rooms but due to the need, the 80 children are sharing 7 rooms instead of 11 rooms. This gives each room an average of like 11 to 12 kids per room. Imagine the congestion, some of them wet their beds and so every morning gives us work to clean and put their stuff outside to have the sun kill germs. I would pray that the Lord comes through because this state makes it hard for us to control flues skin infections and other contagious conditions.

writing to ask someone to give is one of the hardest things on any relationship or so my pride tells me. However, when more than 80 children look to you for their education and other living necessities, there is not much left to do than to ask whoever will to come alongside in the cause. tomorrow is schools’ opening day, we need over $2000 in tuition, i owe the medical clinic $700, the food supplier $1050, electricity $230, water $80, nutritional supplements $210 etc etc. all this is just in debts not mentioning what is needed to run the work. All the suppliers are looking to what we owe so as to send their own kids to school. This has put us in a desperate situation which makes me frantic hence asking for givers to consider STAO. please consider to help.
Write to us at Aidsorphanseducation@gmail.com
pastor Nelson Lufafa
www.stao-uganda.org
www.stao.no

A Bulletin Received by myself from Save the Aids Orphans thorugh Myspace Australia – http://www.myspace.com/Lufafa

Ive recently started sponsoring a Child Headed Household in Uganda.

Betty is 16 and has a 3 month old baby of her own. Both parents are deceased and she is the caregiver for her 3 brother siblings (17) (12) & (11). To help me financially be able to support these children i have/am creating a range of items such as shirts, bags, hats, postcards and stickers to help me fund this. 100% of the profits are sent to support the children through a registered non profit “Joy For Children Uganda”. The funds are used to pay for food, kerosine (they live in a no electricity area), school fee’s, medical care and clothing. Their mother passed away in 2004 from AIDs and their father many years before their mother, however the children do not recall when their father passed. Since 2004 Betty has been the main provider for her brothers.

Your purchase will help me be able to help these 5 children have a chance at a better life. CLICK HERE to go to our store

Here are some of the styles currently available to help support these children through our zazzle store

tl-end_poverty_tshirt_tshirt tl-give_peace_a_tri_unisex_shirt_tshirt tl-support_end_bag_bag tl-peace_hat

STOP THE PRESS!! WHATS THAT I READ???

A top LRA Commander has been captured by the UPDF!! YAY we are seeing action! Four other LRA junior commanders have been killed and 98 abductees rescued. Its good to see that things are being done, these scum are being pursued and those abducted are being rescued.

This war has been going on FAR TOO LONG and it is now, while action is happening that we must stand strong and UNITE our voices. Spread the word, let the world know that this is happening, that the LRA are STILL currently fighting and abducting, that the Ugandan People’s Defence Force are taking action to end the War.

98 Souls Saved, that is wonderful news to hear, such a great start to the day, after the week i have had of audits at work its a good news day. Lets just hope that the action continues. Through our awareness we are seeing action. STAND STRONG and USE YOUR VOICE.

Check out the News Report – CLICK HERE

Betty & Her Family

ALSO, Ive recently started sponsoring a Child Headed Household in Uganda. Betty is 16 and has a 3 month old baby of her own. Both parents are deceased and she is the caregiver for her 3 brother siblings (17) (12) & (11). To help me financially be able to support these children i have/am creating a range of items such as shirts, bags, hats, postcards and stickers to help me fund this. 100% of the profits are sent to support the children through a registered non profit “Joy For Children Uganda”. The funds are used to pay for food, kerosine (they live in a no electricity area), school fee’s, medical care and clothing. Their mother passed away in 2004 from AIDs and their father many years before their mother, however the children do not recall when. Since 2004 Betty has been the main provider for her brothers.

Your purchase will help me be able to help these 5 children have a chance at a better life. CLICK HERE to go to our store

June 9th. Together with Christina Vandenhengel of Invisible Children i gave a speech to the Local Blacktown City Lions Club at their Dinner Meeting.  We started with a 5 min speech regarding the Northern Ugandan’s and the atrocities they have been facing since approx 1986.  We then showed 2 x 5 min clips and ended with 5 mins of question time.  Selling approx 6 “rescue” Bracelets and a few other items the night was successful in raising even more awareness of the atrocities faced by the Acholi and now the Congolese and Central African Republic and Sudanese Citizens.

Since June 9th i have kept contact with Christina and kept on raising awareness for the Acholi and others facing hard times due to the LRA War. Have sent letters to MP’s and Celebrities and Twittered about it almost every day. I run website FREEUGANDA and have a current fundraiser which your donations are delivered straight to Invisible Children via Change.org a safe and secure fundraising website for Non Profits.

One night in August i checked my sms messages to find one from Christina, a very interesting message, it had me left wondering…what was this proposition she had for me?  Well it was an honor, a true blessing, to be asked to be the Company Secretary for Invisible Children Australia! My hard work had been shown, my dedication to the cause proven and it was an HONOR for me to accept the Volunteer Positon of Company Secretary of IC Aus. I take on this mission with pride, its going to be hard, long, labourous, joyful, sad, fun, exciting and so much more, who wouldnt want to be a part of such a wonderful cause dedicated to helping those less orphaned, abducted or in some way affected by the LRA War, a war that has been hardly reported on by media since 1986.

In September 2009 Invisible Children Australia Board of Directors will be having our first meeting to go over all of our fundraising, events and missions we have started.  We are here to help you with screenings and fundraising and anything you need to raise awareness for Invisible Children.

Schools for Schools has restarted for 2009 with an exciting new book drive mission through Better World Books

In the last few months the LRA have pushed Congolese over the Borders into Central African Republic as well as Sudan, murdering more civilians and abducting more children/women.

9th September: it is reported on New Vision a leading Ugandan Newspaper that a head LRA Commander was captured by the UPDF (Ugandan Peoples Defence Force) in Central African Republic and 98 abducted have been saved, as well as 4 junior LRA Leaders being killed in gunfight.  It is currently suspected that Kony is heading into the Darfur, Sudan region. Darfur is already facing its own Internally Displaced issues due to war with rebels, If Kony/LRA was to join forces with another extremist rebel group in Darfur, the atrocities we are seeing could be amplified.

What can you do to help Invisible Children see the end of this war? Lobby your Sentors (US), hold fundraisers, hold a screening of our documentaries at your school/church/youth group or even workplace! Have a house party and get everyone to donate some funds to Invisible Children. Purchase one of the many DVD’s, Tshirts, Books and more and show off your IC Style.  Write a letter to your Local Member of Parliment (Aus)

Check out Invisible Children’s website today and see how you can help the movement move forward to a brighter future for those affected by the LRA War.

So in the last week i have done some volunteering and letters to people for Invisible Children to try and get the profile out there in Australia.

Ive emailed Kerry-anne, Todayfm, Ten, Nine, Sbs, sent letters to Rove and John Farnham and am trying to get the Invisible Children Documentary screened on SBS television. Am gathering ideas for a fundraiser / event to hold in the near future and am awaiting to hear back to see if the Australian 2010 Invisible Children Tour will be held.

I tweet about Uganda and Africa and what is going on there at http://twitter.com/freeuganda and hopefully help alot of people understand and open their eyes to what is going on in the world.

Visit me www.freeuganda.webs.com for more information

Emailing Invisible Children in Jan of 2009 i was advised that I.C were doing an Aussie Tour this year to hold a big worldwide event called “The Rescue”. Eagerly i awaited more information and in March i was able to get in contact with Katie Bradel and was asked to help out on the media relations team for the IC Sydney Event. After getting connected and catching up with Katie Bradel, she asked me to come work with her and a group of people on a Media Relations team to help organise some media for The Rescue. Eagerly i took on this role and headed into Newtown to meet Katie and the other volunteers who, like myself believe in the mission and movement IC has created. We were pumped, by the end of the meeting i had met some fantastic ladies and we had put together some fantastic ideas. I was ready to do this! Wow IC were finally down under and i was ready to use my voice to help the invisible children of Uganda. I had never felt such pleasure such joy and such heartache at the same time. Being asked to do Radio Media i took on this mission with pride. I wanted to succeed, not for me, for the children of Uganda and of the LRA War. I was again so overwhelmed by the wonderful people i met, such selfless people to give their time and money to those who we have never met, those who are in a complete different country, i was in awe.

So i started emailing and faxing all the media i had been given in the lead up to the event…..10,000 emails later and around 400 faxes later i was pumped. I also started researching Uganda, and came across some interesting facts that made me feel a whole range of emotions from anger to guilt, from empathy to sympathy, from love to hate i was so overwhelmed that one passionate documentary had moved so much inside me. Ive watched documentaries, ive read ugandan newspapers, ive read books, listened to speeches but yet sadly i have never been able to set foot in Uganda. Throughout the month before “The Rescue” i was abuzz with emotions, talking to everyone and anyone i knew about IC. Showing the documentaries, showing the bracelets, sending media clips to PM’s. This war had to have an end, and if they (the governments) would not do it, we would show them they have to do it, we will show them that we care about this situation and we want to see and end to the suffering. How quick a month can go by because suddenly it was the eve of the event…which also happened to be my 29th birthday….whoops i totally forgot it was my birthday, no birthday dinner with family, no cake, i had been so caught up in the Rescue, id totally forgotten myself….oh well..i know what i wanted, all my presents had to be purchased on the invisible children website! I went to bed that night and had never felt so refreshed when i awoke…today was the day we were going to help make history!

9am – 25th April, 2009 i headed out by train to Sydney from Blacktown. With everyone meeting at Milsons Point station – i headed straight for “Fleet Steps” as i was sick and almost hospitalised the week leading up to the event i was told “no walking that far and no outside in the cold” by my doctor…are you kidding??? like i’m missing this for my health!!! Compromise is a bitch…yet it had to be done….no marching….no camping….but i was going to the Event!

Arriving at the fleet steps a few volunteers had already arrived and were starting to set up.

Helping set up with people such as noelle and christina, colin and Katie Bradel and everyone else was like a dream come true….they aint “celebs” as such but in my life they are “hero’s”. The best kind of hero’s ive ever seen. So finally we set up and had some fantastic times trying to get banners to hang from garbage bins etc, and the “abducted” were arriving…..it was beginning. We were all feeling Pumped!
The night overall…was the best night id ever had. I went to the Rescue on my own yet i wasn’t alone. With approx 1000 other IC supporters i felt myself becoming “a hero” as well. To watch the youth of sydney so proudly sing “your the voice” with Damien from underbelly was truly amazing…the dancing, chanting and singing was undeniably great and made the event so much more than just a group of people sharing the same ideals and beliefs….it made us whole. We were Rescued By Damien Walshe-Howling and by Sky News Australia and ABC Radio as well as a few independant journalist who took up the media call. Being Anzac Day in Australia it was very hard to compete to get air time for our event, but ultimately we were rescued and received national air time to raise awareness for the cause so that was a great bonus! The atomosphere was amazing, i just cannot express how in awe i was with everyone.
At around 10.30pm we started heading off to Hyde Park Barracks where we were to be camped out for the night. This is where my night had to end. I arrived, walking up with a group and hung around for a little while, purchasing my bag and rescue bracelets, chatting with new friends and IC enthusiasts and just enjoying the lovely mood that was set at the Sydney Rescue! Time to go home…..11.30pm.

So off i went to St James Station to catch the train back to blacktown….home to sleep

Sunday 26th April: Sunrise gave a brief overview about the chanting coming from outside! Sydneysiders from the Rescue had marched to Sunrise Studio’s and parked themselves out the front of the Live Recording room window – Bring Joseph Kony to Justice was all you could see in the window….GOOD ON YA GUYS!!!! Sky News Australia gave a 7 min interview with Christina and Colin from IC

For the next 3 days i was online watching the live feeds and i had the best time watching….the mission in the US was still going and they needed support….to see Oprah’s live show and the Bobby and IC there was exceptional – Thanks Oprah and Thanks to the dedicated “abducted” who camped out the front of Harpo to get the attention the movement deserves.
Today exactly one month after the event…its not over. The movement is still going hard so so must i…..on June 9th i’ll be giving a speech to the local lions club about IC and what it has done for the people of Northern Uganda in hopes that they can in turn spread the message to other local lions clubs as well.

Invisible children in my life isn’t just a movement, its a way of life for me and my family. We are honored to help, we are honored to say “i support invisible children” and we will be even more honored on the day we can finally say “we helped to end the LRA War in Uganda”


NEXT: Part III

So over the weekend i had my sons 9th Birthday party and my 2 yr old Daughter was quite sick so have been spending my time with my children this weekend. Was nice to have some quality time at the animal park with the kids, to watch them play and ask questions about the animals and birds, they are such awesome lil things. it really makes me wonder how and why children in other parts of the world are looked at like commodities or objects.

I just cannot express how much it deeply confuses me in this day and age why we have so much suffering, so much poverty and so much intolerance. I just dont understand, maybe ive too much compassion, maybe ive too much empathy. I just cannot sit by knowing that each day every 3.6 seconds (approx) a child is dying due to hunger. the number of the worlds hungry has peaked at over 1 BILLION, yep that is correct, 1 BILLION. How on earth in 2009 can we honestly say that 1 Billion people do not have access to food. I Urge you all to check out the World Food Programmes A billion for A billion campaign – Think about this:

For US$ 5 you can nourish a baby for 1 year
For US$50 you can feed a child in school for 1 year
For US$170 you feed a hungry person for 1 year

 

Now that is not alot of money is it? Considering half of those in the Western World cannot live with under $20,000 a year, its a small price to pay for helping those in need.

If your not so comfortable donating, why not look at sponsoring a child. Compassion Australia are a fantastic organisation worldwide that sponsor children. i currently sponsor 2 children through compassion and pen pal another 2 who already have financial benefactors who cannot write. This brings me much personal satisfaction and spiritual satisfaction. to get letters and pictures from the children makes me so happy, i see they are happy in those pictures and letters. i know they are being looked after and their lives actually have meaning. I know they are well feed at the compassion centres, in a time of need they will open the doors to other members of the family if need be. They create vege gardens for the parents and families of the compassion assisted children, they are a wonderful organisation who i have much time for.


Jose – Colombia Winifred – Uganda
My Sponsor Children
Arn’t they such beautiful little souls!!

So today is my son (reece’s) 9th Birthday so we are having a family dinner at my mums tonight, must remember to pack the laptop!!

So today, twittering away @freeuganda, the elections have started in Afghanistan and i really wonder how bad its going to get there. I don’t know much about there as i dedicate most of my research to Africa.

A report on Monitor.co.ug says that the Ugandan Government has blood on their hands. Well i totally agree! Reading into the history of the LRA war and President Museveni’s appointment, it is quite disturbing.

The Ugandan government failed to protect northern Ugandans when they needed it most. President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni is responsible for orchestrating genocide in Northern Uganda, where he has incarcerated nearly two million people in concentration camps, euphemistically known as “protected villages.” Read a report by the Govt. of Uganda, WHO, UNICEF and others (pdf version).

At the height of the crisis, (circa 2005), more than 1,000 people per week were dying from preventable diseases in these modern day concentration camps. More people have died from conditions in the camps themselves than at the hands of the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army) or government forces, and over 20,000 children have been abducted.

2. Crimes Against Humanity II

In 2005, Museveni’s government was found guilty by the International Court of Justice for committing grave war crimes in the DRC, including: the invasion and plundering of the natural resources of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and of fomenting ethnic cleansing. Uganda was ordered to pay the DRC $6-$10 billion.

3. Rampant Corruption

Under Museveni, Uganda is one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Yet, donor countries including the US, keep donating money to the regime without holding Museveni accountable for corruption.

4. Lawlessness I

President Museveni has no respect for international laws. He came to power using child soldiers and continues to coerce children into joining his armed forces to sustain his regime (See China Keitetsi’s story).

5. Lawlessness II: Locally, President Museveni does not respect the rule of law: he used soldiers to invade the nation’s High Court twice to intimidate judges, has exhibited complete disrespect for human rights, and bribed Ugandan Parliamentarians to amend the constitution to remove presidential term limits. The removal of term limits places Museveni as a de facto life president. Museveni has also been involved in land grabbing without the consent of the owners.

6. Militarism

President Museveni is a militarist who has no interest in dialogue to solve political problems. In 1985 he scuttled the Nairobi Peace Agreement mediated by President Moi of Kenya. Numerous attempts at peaceful negotiation between the LRA and the Government of Uganda were disrupted by Museveni’s actions, namely: 1994 and 2004 peace negotiation mediated by Betty Bigombe, the 1988 negotiation mediated by Acholi elders, and a 2003 initiative mediated by the Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative. To date, Museveni has not shown much commitment to the current Juba Peace talks mediated by South Sudan–recently spearheading the creation of the Arusha agreement with the DRC, which stipulates the removal of the LRA from the DRC within 90 days.

7. Rampant Human Rights Violations

Recently, Uganda’s ambassador to the UN blocked a report by the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights Louise Arbour, from being tabled in the UN’s General Assembly. Arbour has been vocal about human rights violations by the UPDF in the past. The report detailed extensive human rights violations by the Ugandan national army in the Karamoja region of northeastern Uganda. Read the report (pdf version).

In March, demonstrators protesting the sale of a portion of the Mabira rainforest, one of Uganda’s largest forests, were fired upon. Three people were killed in what began as a peaceful demonstration. Sign the Save Mabira petition.

As posted on Xpose Uganda Genocide