Tuesday, September 07, 2004

UN Bodies Want Northern Uganda Treated Like Darfur

This new blog, Uganda Watch, is in the process of being developed. Copies of reports are being filed here as part of an information gathering exercise, for future reference and posts. Today, All Africa reports that the UN wants Northern Uganda treated like Darfur. Here is a copy of the September 6, 2004 report in full:

Heads of United Nations agencies in Uganda have asked the international community to give greater attention to northern Uganda humanitarian crisis, like it is for Sudan's Darfur region.

Resident Representatives of the World Food Program (WFP), Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and UNAIDS, told visiting European Union parliamentarians the situation in northern Uganda was no different from Darfur.

"The Darfur issue is a very recent one but it has been given huge, world-wide publicity and support, while Uganda's case which is over 17 years is not treated equally," said Ken Davies WFP Resident Representative.

This was during a meeting at the UNDP office in Kampala, between some EU MPs and heads of European health NGOs from some of the latest entrants from the ex-East European states into the EU.

The UNDP Resident Representative to Uganda, Dr Daouda Toure, chaired it.

"The conflict in northern Uganda goes as back as 17 years and the last three years have been the most serious, as it has spread from three districts to eight or nine with people living in over 188 displaced camps," said Toure.

But Davies said Joseph Kony appeared to be under serious threat than ever before.

There have been LRA attacks last week; and no one is absolutely confident that the situation will not slide back. Mr Davies said there are almost an equal number [to Darfur's] of 1.6 million people, presently in about eight districts, displaced into 188 different camps of displaced persons.

"Its mind-boggling! The biggest camps have up to 75,000 people; they're in many ways worse off than any refugee settlements, because they have no UNHCR protection and supplies. So they're surviving on WFP food assistance; we're feeding about 75 percent kilo-calories a human being needs to survive and we buy about two-thirds of that food in Uganda, which ironically makes the WFP the largest purchaser of food commodities in Uganda.

The EU MP from Lithuania, Mrs Birute Vesaite led the team. Mr Toure said the UNDP and UN agencies are working hard to alleviate the situation in IDPs but said rebellion must end for better services and socio-economic development activities to take place.

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