|The For Life Onlus Charity is working together with the Combonian Fathers Village missionaries in Kotido
The crisis in the Karamoja region of Uganda is developing into a horrifying human tragedy. Despite
repeated warnings, despite increasing numbers of deaths, despite clear infringement of children's rights,
we the international community have failed to act. The protection and care of children in armed conflicts
requires greater political will, with continued vigilance, and increased co-operation.
The children of Karamoja in Uganda see their own tragedy very clearly, but without help, these children
are powerless to protect themselves.
Below are excerpts from some of the letters written by Ugandan children telling the story of their plight.
Abigail, fifteen years old
What kind of world are we living in? Please, as you have a willing heart to help, please do! . Is this not so
miserable? I ask for more help from you to bring peace and children's rights to our country. We want to
have a voice in our country, to develop it, not destroy it.
Helen, sixteen years old
Would you encourage the government of Uganda to provide good security to all places in the North [and]
make both the Ugandan government and the Sudanese government have a good relationship, through
peace talks? I pray that you work more to find a way of restoring peace in our district, country and the
Grace, fourteen years old
Please! Please! Please! If you can bring back our brothers and sisters who are suffering in the bush I think
it will be much better. I am here in school now but doing badly because I am thinking about my sister and
brother who have been taken away from school [by the rebels]. If I go home from school and I see my
parents, and how sad they are, I myself start to cry.
I have much more to tell you, but the more words I write, that is the more sad I become.
Janet, fifteen years old
There are thousands of young children the rebels have taken from their parents, suffering. There are
many people without a place to sleep or even anything to eat, but there is nothing being done for them. So
to anyone who reads this, my question is: what can we say and do for the thousands and thousands of
young people who are still suffering in the bush with Kony Joseph, and for the hundreds of people who die
there day and night?
My question remains to the one who reads this and meditates over it.
The children of Karamoja in Uganda are calling on the world to help. Let us not turn our backs upon their
William, ten years old
I am afraid to go back home to my village, because the rebels are still there in plenty. I fear they will kill
me if they come to know of me here. I was in primary three when I was abducted, and I would like to go
back to school, if there is somewhere that is safe. I don't know. I am sad now. The other thing I would like
to say is that I experienced the deaths of many children. I wish there could be a solution.
Thomas, fourteen years old
When I think back, the hardest thing was seeing other children being killed. That was the hardest thing.
The second hardest thing was the brutal life, someone can be beaten on no grounds at all. I don't know
what I will do, now: I would like to go back home but it is still unsafe, and I fear the rebels coming again. I
am learning bicycle repair here, but when I must leave I fear having no tools. I do not know how I will
Molly, seventeen years old
I have been back at school now for almost three months. I tend to forget, almost, that it ever happened to
me. But it often comes to me suddenly. I look around in class and see the seats that are still empty because
of our girls who are still in the bush, and I think that the bad things that for me are over are still happening
to them, and then I feel sad and afraid.
|The horror of the