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Concerned Parents Assoc.
Appeal To UN Security
Council - 21/Oct/2002

Statement by Angelina Atyam of N. Uganda
before the United Nations Security Council
Arria Formula
on Women, Peace and Security:
Calling for the implementation of Security Council
Resolution 1325


I am Angelina Atyam, the Chairperson of Concerned Parents’
Association.
Thank you to the Security Council for giving me
this opportunity to share with you the experiences of women
and children in northern Uganda, where war has been raging
for 17 years.

My daughter Charlotte was 14 years old when she was abducted
by rebels. She is still missing, and many more mothers have
their children taken from them. Over 14,000 children have
been abducted
by the Lord’s Resistance Army during the past
17 years of conflict in northern Uganda. It the longest
hostage situation in the history of the modern world.
Captives are forcefully turned into rebel fighters, and the
abducted children comprise over 85% of the rebel fighting
force.

These are the ‘rebels’ that the government army is fighting
with now. Many girls are also forced to be sex slaves to the
rebels as well as fighters. These abductions have increased
in recent months, and continue even as I speak these words
to you.

I want to share with you a story about how the war in
northern Uganda, and particularly the recent Ugandan
military Operation Iron Fist, is affecting women and
children.

Two weeks ago, on October 13th, rebels attacking Ngai in
Apac district
split open the abdomens of cows, packed
children inside and sewed the abdomens back in place. As the
children suffocated to death, older people were tied to tree
branches heads down, and huge logs were used to hit them on
the abdomen till the contents of their stomachs oozed out
and they died.
On September 4th at Kamdini, Apac district, a
woman was forced by the rebels to stir boiling beans with
her hands. Her arms was completely burnt, cooked up to the
bone, with flesh pealing and falling off. She is now in the
hospital with an amputated arm.

Later that month, in Lira, central Uganda, the rebels
chopped off the hands of a crippled elderly woman who could
not flee their attack. They locked her in her hut, set it on
fire and burnt her alive. These atrocities are being
committed daily in our communities, and yet we have no
protection.
Not even from our own government.

When I was asked to speak before you, it was the first time
that I had seen a copy of the UNSC resolution 1325.


I am glad that Uganda is a Member State of the United
Nations.
Yet, the passing of the resolution has not marked
any positive change in the lives of the girls and women
affected by the conflict in Northern Uganda. Refugees and
internally displaced persons living in camps in northern
Uganda are being killed by rebels. Recent rebel attacks on
Sudanese refugee camps left many dead, thousands displaced
and 5 IRC aid workers held hostage.

My question is: how does
point 12 of this resolution apply to our situation in
northern Uganda?



During this conflict, thousands of girls and women have been
beaten, raped and left with unwanted pregnancies. Over 50%
of children returning from captivity are infected with
HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.


question is: how do points 10 and 12 of this resolution
apply to our situation in northern Uganda?


The situation faced by child mothers who were abducted and
forced to bear children for the rebels is particularly
distressing. If they manage to escape, many face
rejection by their families and community and lack
reintegration support.


How does point 13
of this resolution apply to their situation?


17 years of war has left northern Uganda yearning for peace
through peaceful means.

Yet, the LRA rebels are listed as terrorists, not worthy to
talk peace with.


If we women want peace,

how will point 8 of this resolution help us attain it?

This is not the first time that my organization has brought
this matter to this body’s attention. On April 14, 2002,
we sent a letter to the UNSC,
but never received any response.
How can local organizations, like the
Concerned Parents Association, reach you?


We need a clear mechanism by which to send information
to ensure that our voices are heard.


I conclude by saying:

- Abductions are on the increase and those abducted in the
past, like my daughter, are still being held captive
- Over half of the population lives is squalid internally
displaced camps, which are breeding grounds for disease and
gender-based violence
- Killings and maimings, the prevalence of HIV/AIDS and
child mothers are increasing
- Cultural values have been lost
- Education, trade and livelihood and other socio-economic
activities have slowly come to a halt, leaving the
population in utter poverty

Therefore, on behalf of all the suffering children and
women
of Northern Uganda, I appeal to this noble council to
critically create the process of dialogue. This is the key
to a beginning of a satisfactorily ending the suffering of
the children and women in Northern Uganda.

I appeal to the
UN Security Council to bear pressure on the Government of
Uganda
to accept that the situation in Northern Uganda
warrants immediate humanitarian action.


There is need to involve the UN directly in a monitoring and
peacekeeping role on the ground for effective and immediate
implementation of Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security.

I appeal to the UN Security Council members to
come to Northern Uganda to see and act on one of the most
painful situation of human rights abuses in the history of
modern times.


The last UN visit to Uganda did not speak to
or for our women.


Finally, the implementation of Resolution 1325 can only
succeed in Uganda in the face of a national reconciliation
process.
Because of the Country’s past political record,
which divided us into tribes and regions, we need technical,
material and moral backup for peace to flourish. This
Council could enforce the practical implementation of
Resolution 1325
in Uganda.

If this were done, there would be no more abductions,
no more related deaths, no more displacements, no more
insecurity to refugees, no more rapes; the camps for
internally displaced would be dismantled and the
displaced woman, children and all would go home, with
heads high, to look after their families, go back to
school, enjoy good health and cultivate belonging to
a nation they love.


For God and My Country.