Posts Tagged ‘Northern Uganda’

So i have lots on my plate this year, which is quite exciting for me now as i’m no longer working.

This year i’m dedicating my time to ensuring my health gets better as this “hypothyroidism” really sucks crab big time and i’m so over being exhausted and sick. I’m also dedicating my time to some new volunteer work at the Horn of Africa Relief and Development centre, hopefully helping newly arrived Sudanese to learn basic English to help them gain employment.

I’ve got some great things booked already for Invisible Children Aus, like the Orientation Day stall at Notre Dame University in February of this year and am hoping to have a stall at the Blacktown Festival in June of this year also.

Since seeing the Invisible Children Documentary i have felt blessed to be able to help in a way that i have but sometimes it feels like its not enough, like if i died would all i have done gone noticed? i don’t feel so, i know do alot for others but in a way i feel constricted to the computer, like i have not done enuff “hands on” work, so my goal is to get to Northern Uganda in April of 2011 and do some “hands on” work with 3 great organizations, Invisible Children, Joy for Children Uganda and Compassion Australia.

Whilst in Northern Uganda i wish to briefly study the effects of war and poverty within the community as well as document stories of those affected by the war and poverty as well as the AIDS/HIV virus. I will then be visiting my sponsored children in Western Uganda before heading home to apply to University. I’m not quite sure exactly which course i want to take as yet as i’m still conflicted between Journalism and Peace & Development as i’m not totally sure which one of those would help me achieve what it is i want to achieve in my life.

I love being able to inspire people and report injustices, unheard stories and helping others understand the plight of those in war & poverty.

Where i live, we have a large Sudanese Community who are settling here and i feel that we need to understand more what these people have lived through and how better we can serve them to help them become fantastic community members as well. The racism i see going on is wrong.  I myself have been a victim of racism by a newly arrived Youth quite recently actually and found myself quite shocked by this youth’s behavior and clear lack of respect for anyone but himself.  It really upset me that i was just driving down the street and suddenly this youth stepped out on the road in front of my car and expected me to be able to stop for him! when i called out the window and proceed to explain he had stepped out on the road and it was not a footpath,  i was told in quite a forceful manner to “f**k off!” well i lost it right then and there and told him in my best Aussie Accent “no mate, you f**k off, this is a road not a footpath!! your lucky i was able to stop!” I held no racism nor hate or malice against this youth but it really pissed me off that he EXPECTED me to stop my car immediately and let him walk across the road! Then it kinda made me wonder what this youth has been through both before coming here and then after coming here and what could have happened to him to make him be so rude and forceful, was he a victim of racism by our local community?  I felt ashamed and really not proud of myself for my outburst but i had just had enough.

Over the last few weeks i have come to see that there is SOOO much racism in Australia its not funny and yet we are built on a foundation of multiculturalism, how did we get like this? The Aussie way is giving a hand to the battlers, giving people a fair go, yet all i hear are people complaining about our govt letting in refugee’s and immigrants. Do these people not deserve a fair go? Refugee’s are the most resilient and strong people on our earth, they have faced such hard times and suffered things, we in our beautiful country have not had to experience, yet you all complain?

Unless your an aboriginal, REMEMBER your family immigrated here sometime either recently or in history!! Our penal colony country has evolved into a haven of racism and hate and it really saddens me to see i, but can we expect any less from a country that was founded with criminals?

My parents immigrated here when they were children with their families, had they not, i’d probably be Dutch and living in the Netherlands. What country would you have been born in if your parents were not blessed to call Australia home? think about it!

so as not to end on a downer, i really wanna congratulate Invisible Children on winning the Chase Community Giveaway through Facebook! $1 Million Dollars!! $100,000 of that has been pledged to Haiti Relief and the rest will be used to build schools and water wells as well as maintain the cotton farm in Northern Uganda so that very soon the Tshirts you buy will be MADE on Invisible Children Cotton from Northern Uganda, how cool is that!!! Invisible Children keep on fighting for the end of a war that has been raging for around 24 yrs now. Will you join in the fight? the fight to end the Longest Running War in Africa?

– Rebecca Fowler

Freeuganda

Gulu

Former internally displaced people who have returned to their homes in Gulu District are facing shortage of clean drinking water, Daily Monitor has learnt.

In an interview over the weekend, the chairman of Palaro Sub-county in Gulu, Mr David Ngole, said women walk for over 15 kilometres in search of drinking water. Mr Ngole urged the government to intervene immediately, adding that any delay could severely frustrate resettlement efforts in the war battered district.

Danger

“They are exposed to rapists at night and snake bites as they travel in the bush in search of water,” he added. Mr Ngole added that water sources in villages like Abwoc Bel, Wipolo, Owalo and Kalali dried up when people were still in the camps.

Meanwhile, the Secretary of Works and Technical Services, Mr Alex Otim, said some women are forced to collect rain water from mud ponds. “Some of them drink unsafe water and this exposes them to risks of getting bilharzia,” Mr Otim said. He added that the council would make provision of safe water and roads a priority.

Official figures indicate that in Gulu District alone, over 85 per cent of former displaced persons have returned home and several camps have been closed. The Lord’s Resistance Army insurgency displaced thousands of people in northern and eastern Uganda and forced them into camps.

As reported via Daily Monitor: Truth Everyday; Uganda News, Business, Travel, Sports, Elections  – Gulu residents trek miles for water.

Who was Bok Abudema?

Abudema hails from Alero-Lamogi in Amuru district. He worked as a sugarcane cutter in Jinja during the Obote II regime.

When President Yoweri Museveni seized power in 1986, he joined the UPDA, a rebel group composed of soldiers of the former Okello regime which fought to overthrow the new Government.

He joined the LRA in 1988 after Kony was attacked by Museveni’s NRA at Bwobo railways station in Alero Sub-county, Gulu District. He was one of the few remaining LRA fighters who had joined the rebel group voluntarily.

Abudema was involved in many massacres in northern Uganda. In 1998, he took part in the killing of 11 LRA fighters who were accused of practicing witchcraft in Jebelein, the LRA camp in Southern Sudan.

In December 1999, after the passing of the Amnesty Act by the Ugandan Parliament, he executed the then number two, Otti Lagony, in their camp in Sudan on Kony’s orders.

In 2002, Abudema commanded a raid in Agoro Sub-county in Kitgum district in which several civilians and UPDF soldiers died and at least 100 people were abducted. The trading centre was looted and the military barracks burnt down.

In April 2002, he took part in a massacre of about 800 civilians at Katire village in Southern Sudan.

In 2003, he was among the senior LRA commanders who crossed into the Teso region in eastern Uganda and carried out horrific massacres and massive abductions.

On October 2, 2007, he took part in the execution of Kony’s deputy, Vincent Otti, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Abudema shouted the order ‘fire’ to the firing squad. Earlier, he had participated in arresting, torturing and humiliating Otti.

He was reportedly wounded during the December 14, 2008 air strikes on the LRA camps in eastern Congo under the joint offensive.

via Welcome To The Sunday Vision online: Uganda’s leading weekly.

The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA)

The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) , led by Joseph Kony, operated in the north from bases in southern Sudan. The LRA committed numerous abuses and atrocities, including the abduction, rape, maiming, and killing of civilians, including children. In addition to destabilising northern Uganda from bases in Sudan, the LRA congregated in the Bunia area in eastern Congo. They linked up with the Army for the Liberation of Rwanda (ALIR) and other rebel groups battling with forces from the Rally for Congolese Democracy (RCD)

Some accused the Sudan of supporting the LRA and Uganda of allegedly supporting the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), the rebel movement that fought against the Sudanese government. Although both governments denied the accusations, they severed diplomatic relations with eachother on April 22, 1995. However, relations between the two countries improved. In 1999, Sudan and Uganda signed an agreement under which Sudan said it would stop aiding the LRA and Uganda would stop aiding the SPLA.

The LRA continued to kill, torture, maim, rape, and abduct large numbers of civilians, virtually enslaving numerous children. Although its levels of activity diminished somewhat compared with 1997, the area that the LRA targeted grew. The LRA sought to overthrow the Ugandan Government and inflicted brutal violence on the population in northern Uganda. LRA forces also targeted local government officials and employees. The LRA also targeted international humanitarian convoys and local NGO workers.

The LRA has abducted large numbers of civilians for training as guerrillas; most victims were children and young adults. The LRA abducted young girls as sex and labor slaves. Other children, mainly girls, were reported to have been sold, traded, or given as gifts by the LRA to arms dealers in Sudan. While some later escaped or were rescued, the whereabouts of many children remain unknown.

In particular, the LRA abducted numerous children and, at clandestine bases, terrorized them into virtual slavery as guards, concubines, and soldiers. In addition to being beaten, raped, and forced to march until exhausted, abducted children were forced to participate in the killing of other children who had attempted to escape. Amnesty International reported that without child abductions, the LRA would have few combatants. More than 6,000 children were abducted during 1998, although many of those abducted later escaped or were released. Most human rights NGOs place the number of abducted children still held captive by the LRA at around 3,000, although estimates vary substantially.

Civil strife in the north has led to the violation of the rights of many members of the Acholi tribe, which is largely resident in the northern districts of Gulu and Kitgum. Both government forces and the LRA rebels–who themselves largely are Acholi–committed violations. LRA fighters in particular were implicated in the killing, maiming, and kidnaping of Alcholi tribe members, although the number and severity of their attacks decreased somewhat compared with 1997.

The LRA rebels say they are fighting for the establishment of a government based on the biblical Ten Commandments. They are notorious for kidnapping children and forcing them to become rebel fighters or concubines. More than one-half-million people in Uganda’s Gulu and Kitgum districts have been displaced by the fighting and are living in temporary camps, protected by the army.

Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).