Over 500 victims of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) conflict in Northern Uganda are awaiting essential physical rehabilitation, as reported by Pamela Angwec, the Executive Director of Gulu Women Economic Development and Globalization (GWED-G). These survivors continue to grapple with both mental and physical wounds from the war.
The scars run deep, with some individuals still carrying bullet shrapnel lodged in their bodies, necessitating costly surgeries for removal. Others cope with enduring disabilities, requiring mobility aids like artificial limbs and wheelchairs for improved quality of life.
During a meeting with Minister of State for Northern Uganda, Grace Freedom Kwiyucwiny, at the Prime Minister’s Office in Gulu city, Angwec emphasized the plight of these victims. She pointed out that these individuals had not received support from the Trust Fund for Victims and had not yet undergone the necessary physical rehabilitation. She appealed to the government to extend its assistance to them.
Minister Kwiyucwiny pledged to collaborate with other ministries, including those responsible for local governance and health, to ensure that the needs of the war victims are addressed and their rehabilitation is supported.
The LRA, led by Joseph Kony, wrought havoc in Uganda and neighboring countries for decades. According to United Nations estimates, the LRA was responsible for the deaths of more than 100,000 people, the abduction of 60,000 to 100,000 children, and the displacement of over 2.5 million civilians across four African nations, including Uganda, from 1987 to 2012.
In 2004, the Ugandan government appealed to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate and prosecute violations of international criminal law committed within its territory. The following year, the ICC issued arrest warrants for the leaders of the LRA.
In 2008, the Trust Fund for Victims initiated 18 projects designed to provide assistance to Ugandan victims within the ICC’s jurisdiction. These programs were aimed at delivering physical rehabilitation, psychological support for victims with mutilations, physical injuries, and survivors of sexual and gender-based violence. Material support complemented these efforts, aiming to aid victims on their path to recovery.