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Human Rights Watch: Uganda
For Immediate Release:
For more information, please contact:
In New York: Jo Becker (English) +212-216-1236 or Tony Tate (English,
New Video, Photo Essay Tell Story of Uganda's Child "Night Commuters"
(New York, August 22, 2005) -- Human Rights Watch has documented the plight
of Uganda's lost generation of children in a new video, "Night Commuters:
Uganda's Forgotten Children of War." A powerful photo essay by Bruno
Stevens accompanies the video.
The video spotlights the phenomenon of tens of thousands of children in
northern Uganda who walk miles every day to avoid abduction by rebel
troops. The video shows the children embarking from their villages on long
journeys in search of a safe place to sleep in urban areas.
Human Rights Watch takes an unflinching look at the harrowing conditions of
the children's lives through original footage and interviews. The situation
in northern Uganda has resulted in a pervasive climate of fear. Since 1986,
30,000 boys and girls have been abducted in northern Uganda and forced to
become child soldiers and sex slaves. The group that is responsible for
these atrocities, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), has waged war against
the Ugandan government for nearly two decades.
Once abducted by the LRA, children are forced to carry out raids, beat and
kill civilians and kidnap other children if they want to stay alive. The
girls end up sexually violated and physically abused. They are forced to
beat or trample to death other children who attempt to escape, and are
repeatedly told that they will be killed if they try to run away.
To avoid LRA abduction, every night as many as 40,000 children flee their
homes in the countryside to sleep in the relative safety of towns. They
seek refuge overnight at churches, hospitals, bus stations and temporary
shelters before returning home again each morning.
This video spotlights a society living under the constant threat of having
its children abducted and shows the world that a crisis that the United
Nations has called a "crime against humanity" can no longer be ignored.
To access the photo essay and video please click on: