Uganda: UN appeals for calm over escalating deaths in disarmament operation

Uganda: UN appeals for calm over escalating deaths in disarmament operation

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United Nations officials today expressed “grave concerns” over escalating violence and loss of life, property and human dignity in the Kotido District of Uganda of the past two weeks and called on Karamojong communities to refrain from violent responses to law-and-order efforts.

“The United Nations urges the restraint of all arms carriers in relation to the ongoing process of disarmament in order to avoid further escalation of insecurity and to minimize the impact on innocent civilians, especially on the lives of children and families,” the acting humanitarian coordinator in Uganda, Theophane Nikyema said in a statement.

An interagency assessment team sent to the area on Tuesday 7 found evidence of significant loss of life and property, including food reserves, in villages within and surrounding the parish of Lopuyo and civilians remain displaced, although some have begun returning home.

“The team received multiple allegations of serious human rights abuses committed on all sides that warrant further detailed investigation,” Mr. Nikyema said. “The team was disturbed by the apparent lack of reconciliatory or confidence building initiatives being undertaken to avoid future such incidents.

He urge national and local authorities to “undertake all measures required to protect the civilian population, including children and women,” and called for a review of the implementation of the disarmament process by the national authorities and the establishment of an adequate monitoring mechanism.

Through its specialized agencies and partners, the UN has already released food and supplies to support civilians affected by the violence. Work is also underway to ensure adequate protection and access to heath services and water and sanitation facilities.