Committee on International Relations
U.S. House of Representatives
Henry J. Hyde, Chairman

CONTACT: Sam Stratman, (202) 226-7875, April 25, 2006

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For IMMEDIATE Release

Children’s Rights in Northern Uganda
Chairman Smith Schedules Wednesday Hearing
 

BACKGROUND – Until the 1986 election of President Yoweri Museveni, Uganda suffered from ethnic strife, civil war, and uncontrollable economic inflation.  While President Museveni has succeeded in alleviating some of these problems, the situation in Northern Uganda continues to be characterized as one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.  The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) aims to overthrow Museveni’s rule.  Its troops are composed mainly of children abducted from villages in the north—at least 20,000 such abductions in the past decade alone.  Estimates by the UN suggest that minors make up 90 percent of LRA soldiers.  The violent tactics of the LRA have resulted in millions of internally displaced persons in Uganda and Southern Sudan.  USAID programs have assisted Northern Ugandans in assisting abducted children and reuniting them with their families.  The Ugandan Government has made a number of attempts to negotiate with the LRA, unsuccessfully, and turned to a program of educating and arming the civilian population in the north against the LRA.  In October of 2005, the International Criminal Court issued warrants for the arrests of five LRA leaders, though no arrests have been made. 

WHAT:                             Subcommittee Hearing: The Endangered Children of Northern Uganda
                                          Subcommittee on Africa, Global Human Rights and International Operations
                                          U.S. Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ), Chairman

WHEN:                             2 p.m., Wednesday, April 26, 2006

WHERE:                          Room 2200 of the Rayburn House Office Building

WITNESSES:                  Panel I:
                                        
Mr. Jeffrey Krilla,
                                        
Deputy Assistant Secretary,
                                         Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor,
                                         U.S. Department of State;

                                         Mr. Leonard Rogers, Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator
,
                                         U.S. Agency for International Development;

                                         Panel II:
                                         Ms. Grace Grall Akello,
                                        
Former Abducted Child Soldier for the LRA,
                                         World Vision;

                                         Ronald Waldman, M.D.
,
                                         Professor of Clinical, Population and Family Health,
                                         Mailman School of Policy,
                                         Columbia University;

                                         Ms. Michelle Brown,
                                        
UN Advocate,
                                         Refugees International; and

                                         Mr. John Prendergast
,
                                         Co-Director, Africa Program,
                                         International Crisis Group.

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