H.R. NO.



H.D. 2














     WHEREAS, Hawaii is committed to supporting the dignity and worth of each human being; and


     WHEREAS, for more than 20 years, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) led by Joseph Kony, has engaged in an armed conflict with the Government of Uganda, resulting in 10,000 people murdered, at least twice that number of children abducted, and over 1,600,000 people displaced; and


     WHEREAS, the United States (U.S.) Department of State has found that, while having "demonstrated a marked improvement in respect to human rights," the Ugandan government's human rights record remains poor, and abuse, violence, and violations of civil rights continue to occur; and


     WHEREAS, the former United Nations Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator called the civil war in Northern Uganda "the biggest forgotten, neglected humanitarian emergency in the world today"; and


     WHEREAS, the LRA has been placed on the Terrorist Exclusion List by the U.S. Department of State under the Patriot Act, which among other qualifications, means its members cannot immigrate to the U.S.; and


     WHEREAS, on April 26, 2006, the U.S. Department of State's Deputy Assistant Secretary for Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor testified before Congress that those who suffer most from the LRA's tactics are the children, who face enslavement, sexual exploitation, and forced soldiering; and

     WHEREAS, more than 85 percent of the LRA's captives are made up of children, mostly between the ages of 11 and 16, who are abducted and forced to fight as rebels; and


     WHEREAS, the LRA has abducted approximately 12,000 children since 2002 and continues to abduct children, forcing these children into virtual slavery as laborers, soldiers, guards, and sex slaves, and beating, raping, and pressing these children to march until exhausted, while forcing them to participate in the killing of other children who attempt to escape; and


     WHEREAS, child soldiers are exposed to hazardous conditions and are at risk of physical injury and disability, psychological trauma, sexually transmitted diseases, and often death; and


     WHEREAS, due to the threat of abduction, at one time as many as 35,000 child "night commuters" traveled nightly from conflict areas or camps to spend the night in shelters, schools, churches, or balconies in urban centers with greater capacity to protect them; and


     WHEREAS, the continuing violence and instability obstruct the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the people of northern Uganda and impede national and regional trade, development and democratization efforts, and counter-terrorism efforts; and


     WHEREAS, over 5,000 children are also believed to be serving in the Ugandan People's Defense Forces, joining due to economic necessity, to avenge the loss of a family member, or for their own personal safety; and


     WHEREAS, although the Government of Uganda and the LRA signed a cessation of hostilities agreement in August 2006, it was never fully implemented, and they have not yet arrived at a sustainable negotiated settlement, while observers remain concerned that hostilities between rebel and government forces could resume; and


     WHEREAS, Hawaii and its citizens cannot be bystanders, as the children of Uganda are subject to enslavement, exploitation, soldiering, and human trafficking, which are moral and ethical issues that implicate us all; now, therefore,

     BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the Twenty-fourth Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2008, that this body condemns the human rights atrocities and violence against children in Northern Uganda and urges Congress to lead the international community in efforts to protect the children of Uganda; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this body disapproves of the LRA leadership's inconsistent commitment to resolving the conflict in northern Uganda peacefully; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this body also urges the Government of Uganda to abolish child soldiering in its armed forces; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Hawaii's Congressional delegation is urged to support legislation allocating sufficient funds for continued humanitarian aid for the people of Uganda, as well as legislation urging the LRA to engage in good faith negotiations in pursuing a political solution to this conflict; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the U.S. Secretary of State, the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, the Secretary General of the United Nations, and the heads of other similar government agencies and nongovernmental agencies and organizations within the international community are urged to continue augmenting efforts to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in northern Uganda and to support a peaceful resolution to this crisis by publicly and forcefully reiterating the preceding demands; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Resolution be transmitted to the President of the United States, each member of Hawaii's Congressional Delegation, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, the Secretary General and the Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator of the United Nations, the Secretary of State and Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor of the United States Department of State, and the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development.

Report Title:

Northern Uganda; Lord's Resistance Army; Human Rights