Learn about the issues

The Ugandan people have endured some of the most egregious human rights violations in recent history. The most prominent perpetrator is Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a violent rebel group. Formed in 1986, the LRA’s extreme brutality against civilians include: murder, rape, torture, looting, mutilation, and widespread child abductions. Throughout the conflict’s bloody history in northern Uganda, the LRA was responsible for the death of over 100,000, the displacement of approximately 1.7 million people [1], and the forcible abduction of more than 30,000 children [2].

While the LRA was forced out of Uganda in 2006, they left behind a region replete with traumatized children, widowed women, and an exceedingly young population. (the median age in Uganda is 15, currently the lowest median age in the world) For hundreds of thousands of these Ugandans who lived for years in IDP (Internally Displaced Person) camps, the work of rebuilding a life in a post-conflict context is staggering.

Women in Uganda
It’s long since been agreed that the key to economic progress lies in unleashing women’s potential. However, women in Uganda face formidable challenges. The long history of violence and civil war combined with the HIV/AIDS pandemic has left millions of women widowed in a country where the stigma of widowhood ensures further abuse and oppression. Though land laws and policies have declared a widow’s right to land previously owned by her deceased husband, enforcement of such laws in rural areas of Uganda is essentially nonexistent. In a country where 80% of the rural population relies on agriculture for income generation [4], lack of land leaves widowed Ugandan women with few options. Currently, the average Ugandan women has 6.65 children (the 2nd highest average in the world), so single-handedly providing for a family with few resources is nearly impossible.

Additionally, physical and sexual abuse remains a massive issue. The Uganda Bureau of Statistics reported that 68 percent of ever-married women aged 15 to 49 years had experienced some form of violence inflicted by their spouse or intimate partner [5].

To learn more about gender inequality and oppression, the LRA, and poverty and disease, please visit the links listed below.

 [1] October 16, 2007, Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR), "Can Traditional Rituals Bring Justice to Northern Uganda."
 [2] February 2004, UNOCHA "Child Soldiers at Centre of Mounting Humanitarian Crisis."
 [3] 2009, The World Bank
 [4] March 2010, Republic of Uganda Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development
 [5] August 2007. Bureau of Statistics. Uganda Demographic and Health Survey 2006.


Further reading on the LRA:
November 2010, The Enough Project, “The LRA of Today”
December 2010, Oxfam, “Ghosts of Christmas Past: Protecting Civilians from the LRA”
March 28, 2010, Human Rights Watch, “Trail of Death: LRA Atrocities in Northeastern Congo”
October 2011, The Enough Project, “Ending the LRA”

May 24, 2010, LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act
October 14, 2011, Obama orders U.S. troops to help chase down African ‘army’ leader
March 13, 2012, House Resolution (H. Res) 583: Expressing support for robust efforts by the United States to see Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, and his top commanders brought to justice and the group’s atrocities permanently ended.
March 21, 2012, 33 Senators introduce bipartisan resolution condemning Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army
April 4, 2012, President Obama announces U.S. advisers will stay