[MKE - Indymedia] Northern Uganda and the Juba Peace Talks: LWR Lifts up the Quest for Peace
NewsLine at lwr.org
Tue Nov 14 10:43:05 PST 2006
700 Light Street
Baltimore, MD 21230
NEWS RELEASE: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Emily Sollie, 410-230-2802, esollie at lwr.org
NORTHERN UGANDA AND THE JUBA PEACE TALKS: LUTHERAN WORLD RELIEF LIFTS
UP THE QUEST FOR PEACE
Baltimore, November 14, 2006 - It is the third largest humanitarian
crisis in the world. More than a million displaced people in northern
Uganda are waiting hopefully for an announcement of peace. They want
attacks to stop, so that they can live without fear. They want to leave
the crowded and filthy camps where many of them have been for years.
They want their kidnapped children back.
During the last twenty years, millions of people in northern Uganda have
suffered through the upheaval of a brutal conflict between the rebel
group the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) and the Ugandan government.
Attacks have forced a current count of over 1.6 million people to leave
their homes and migrate to camps. There, poor sanitation, poverty and
other factors are contributing to high levels of disease including
HIV/AIDS. According to the government of Uganda, between January and
July of 2005, 1,000 people died there every week.
The LRA has attacked and massacred communities and abducted more than
30,000 children to be used as child soldiers, laborers and sexual
slaves, where many remain to this day. To avoid this fate, tens of
thousands of children have walked miles every night to sleep in the
relative safety of urban centers. The UN reports that at the peak of
these migrations, 40,000 children made this walk every night.
Lutheran World Relief has been active in northern Uganda since 1983,
promoting health through HIV/AIDS education and provision of clean
drinking water and improved sanitation, as well as working to strengthen
rural livelihoods and stabilize the food supply. The organization has
worked with both the displaced population in the north and with
communities elsewhere in the country.
Much more is needed, however, than simply attending to the outcomes of
the conflict. Lutheran World Relief looks with hope on the current
peace talks in Juba in South Sudan, which are being called the best
chance yet for peace in this horrific situation. An August 26th
ceasefire declared there between the Government of Uganda and the LRA
was renewed on November 1st. While this is encouraging, the talks
LWR Public Policy Manager Rebecca Phares recently returned from a
fact-finding visit to northern Uganda. "It's clear that the people of
this region are yearning for peace," she said. "We must now use our
unique privilege to call on our government, asking them to support the
people of northern Uganda at this truly critical time."
With the broader humanitarian and advocacy community, LWR calls for
sustained U.S. public, logistical and financial support, not only for
the peace talks but also for the long process of reconstruction, and
urges the Lutheran community to pray that a deep and lasting peace with
justice be achieved for the marginalized people of northern Uganda.
See www.lwr.org/uganda for more information on what you can do to make
your voice heard on this issue.
WHO IS LWR? Headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, Lutheran World Relief
(LWR) has been responding to emergencies and disasters since its
founding in 1945. Working through partners and global relief and
development networks, LWR works in 35 countries to provide not only
relief but to combat the causes of poverty and restore the dignity it
robs from people's lives. We advocate for Fair Trade that helps farmer
and artisan families earn a better income. We teach people to better
care for themselves, their communities and the environment. We teach
people how to be less vulnerable to natural disasters. We advocate with
them for policy change that more fairly represents them. We counsel them
after human and natural disasters, and help them recover with material
aid and long-term programs. We do all of this exclusively with partners
from the communities we serve.
Lutheran World Relief is a ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church
in America (ELCA), The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS),
individuals and parish groups in international relief, development,
advocacy and social responsibility.
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