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Plight of child soldiers and sex slaves highlighted

A high proportion of girls who escape from the captivity and sexual slavery of the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) suffer from sexually-transmitted diseases, a UN report said.

The UN Secretary-General’s latest report on the abduction of children from northern Uganda said that about 85 percent of girls who arrive at a Gulu trauma centre for former abductees of the LRA had contracted sexual diseases during their captivity.

The report, citing UNICEF and non-government sources, said the LRA since 1986 had abducted up to 10,000 boys and girls, mostly 14-16 years old, but at times as young as eight or nine. Many are killed on their way to LRA camps. Children are forced to fight, both in Ugandan and Sudanese territory, and girls as young as 12 are given to commanders as “wives”. The report said each soldier may have several such wives, and many of the girls had become pregnant.

The report was prepared for the current session of the UN Commission on Human Rights, which last year condemned “all parties involved in the abduction, torture, killing, rape, enslavement and forceful recruitment of children in northern Uganda.”

Meanwhile, LRA rebels have killed four people near Gulu, including a primary school pupil, AFP said on Monday. It cited a local official as saying that about eight rebels had opened fire on people gathered for a funeral some five km west of the town.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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