The conflict between government forces and the notorious Lord’s Resistance Army in Northern Uganda had a devastating impact on children and women throughout the 1980s and 90s. Thousands of children were used as fighters, porters and sex slaves and thousands more have been starved, displaced, attacked and deprived of basic needs.
Despite a 2008 ceasefire, women and children’s rights continue to be violated. A lack of respect and enforcement of the law and a culture of impunity mean that there are inadequate means to prevent and respond to these widespread offences.
In response to the vulnerable position of women and children and their difficulties in accessing justice, War Child provides free legal assistance to children and women across Northern Uganda. As a result, women and children are able to seek justice when they experience violence such as domestic abuse, rape, assault and neglect.
War Child also implements a number of programs to promote awareness and understanding of women and children’s rights. In addition, War Child provides training for justice and legal actors to ensure that they are aware of their responsibility to protect women and children and to respond to cases of rights violations, including sexual and gender-based violence.
Since 2007, War Child has involved over 30,000 community members in sensitization events to learn about women and children’s rights and trained over 1600 justice and legal actors.. In addition, regular radio panel discussions on sexual and gender-based violence and children’s rights run through local radio stations. War Child has been instrumental in helping to improve the situation of women and children in Northern Uganda and today local courts recognize War Child’s expertise in defending the rights of children and youth.