The worst place on earth to be a child today is northern Uganda. The suffering is far worse than in Darfur in duration, magnitude and long-term consequences. Genocide is being carried out by the government against the Acholi people.
The population of northern Uganda is trapped between the brutality of the Lord’s Resistance Army and that of the government. The LRA rebels have been responsible for brutal atrocities, including massacres, abductions of children and gruesome maimings. The government cynically uses the LRA’s activity to divert attention from what is happening in the government’s concentration camps. A carefully scripted narrative has been promoted by the government according to which the human rights catastrophe begins with the LRA and will end with its demise. In this respect, the LRA’s war and the war against the LRA have become both the cover and the pretext for genocide.
Olara A. Otunnu, former United Nations undersecretary general, is president of the LBL Foundation for Children, which is based in New York City and devoted to providing hope, healing and education for children affected by war.