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Bleak future for former female fighters, Uganda.

The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) was formed in northern Uganda in 1986 to wage armed rebellion against the government. UNICEF estimates that more than 25,000 young people have been abducted into its ranks since. After leaving the LRA, former female combatants return to their villages with children forcibly fathered by LRA commanders. Many are shunned by their communities and have to abandon their homes and head to the city of Gulu to find some means of survival, often casual jobs and selling sex. An October 2010 study found that there were few, if any, re-integration programmes in the Acholi sub-region for vulnerable ex-combatants and young people. Women are particularly marginalised in relation to land access, with 87% unable to obtain land. Existing re-integration programmes fail to provide care, livelihood support and access to education. Rehabilitation centres do provide blankets, mattresses, cups, plates, basins and seeds. Some offer skills training in catering and tailoring, e.g. Amnesty International, bur ex-combatants say the support has not yielded tangible results. For the majority, medical care and conflict mediation were more important than economic support, yet there were no government initiatives to address reproductive health problems resulting from sexual violence and physical trauma which occurred during their captivity. The Ugandan government has signed an Agreement on Accountability and Reconciliation with the LRA, calling for reparations to victims of the conflict, bur this promise is far from fulfilled. (1)

(1.) Uganda: bleak future for former female fighters. Irin News, 8 March 2011.

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Title Annotation:ROUND UP: Law and policy
Publication:Reproductive Health Matters
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:6UGAN
Date:May 1, 2011
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