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What happened to children who returned from the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda?

Allen, Tim, Atingo, Jackline, Atim, Dorothy, Ocitti, James, Brown, Charlotte, Torre, Costanza, Fergus, Cristin A. and Parker, Melissa (2020) What happened to children who returned from the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda? Journal of Refugee Studies, 33 (4). 663 - 683. ISSN 0951-6328

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Identification Number: 10.1093/jrs/fez116


In northern Uganda, more than 50,000 people were recruited by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) between the late 1980s and 2004, mostly by force. Around half of those taken were children (under 18 years old). A large number were never seen by their families again, but more than 20,000 returned through aid-financed reception centres. Endeavours were made to reunite them with their relatives, who were mostly living in insecure displacement camps. Relatively few were subsequently visited, even after the fighting ended in 2006. Thousands of vulnerable children were largely left to their own devices. This article draws on research carried out in 2004-06 and from 2012 to 2018, and compares findings with other publications on reintegration in the region. It argues that implementing best-practice guidelines for relocating displaced children with their immediate relatives had negative consequences. The majority of children who passed through a reception centre are now settled as young adults on ancestral land, where they are commonly abused because of their LRA past. With few exceptions, it is only those who spent a long period with the LRA and who are not living on ancestral land who have managed to avoid such experiences.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2020 The Authors
Divisions: International Development
Social Policy
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DT Africa
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Date Deposited: 20 May 2022 15:00
Last Modified: 23 May 2022 08:51

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