Child Soldiers In Northern Uganda Essay

2033 words - 9 pages

The Lord’s Resistance Army has terrorized Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, and Southern Sudan for over 24 years . It has morphed into a terrorizing organization from one who sought an escape from oppression. Joseph Kony uses children as soldiers in his army and forces grief upon families and communities. The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has started a “war fought by children on children” in Uganda that has been going on for over twenty years. The only way to sustain their efforts is to capture children and force them into fighting. The LRA justifies its act of kidnapping with the Ten Commandments and then uses fear, religion, and abuse to fuel their soldiers and force them into fighting. The religious aspects of the LRA do not outweigh the fact that it controls children with fear, inhibits their development and prevents them from ever returning home all of these acts violate multiple human rights including articles 1, 3, 4, and 5 in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights .
Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) states that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights…and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood” the beginning of the LRA was a result of this human right being violated. In the early 1980’s the LRA was known as the Holy Spirit Movement; it was a group of Acholi people, led by Alice Lakwena, who were fighting for their freedom . At that time the Acholi people, of Northern Uganda were being mistreated by the government. Lakwena stood up against the government and her people followed. Kony took over from Lakwena when she was exiled in one of the government won battles . Kony claimed to be Lakwena’s cousin and in 1986 renamed the Holy Spirit Movement the Lord’s Resistance Army. The common belief was that his army was meant to overthrow the government and create a new Northern based government which would rule Uganda by the Ten Commandments ; this act would bring freedom to the Acholi people and provide a new system of governing. However, the Acholi people did not appreciate Kony’s leadership and he quickly lost their support; this was the turning point that started the abduction of children as soldiers.
Many African countries, including Uganda have extremely strong spiritual beliefs either from being colonized or tribal knowledge. Kony took advantage of this aspect of culture and portrayed himself as a prophet; many of the members and captives in the LRA believed him . With this hold over the people Kony was rendered virtually invincible. The people of Northern Uganda were stuck between a rock and a hard place with Kony beginning to control the land. Rape, murder, and other forms of violence were common practices within the LRA camps, however Kony believed that they were all for the good of promoting spirituality and nationalism . These ideas of spirituality and nationalism were backing forces in the LRA’s goal to free Uganda of its...

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