|Too often women are subjected to human rights abuses because they are seen as vulnerable, an easy target of abuse and harassment, especially sexual. The letter in this week's column outlines a disturbing situation in Uganda and Sudan in which young girls are abducted by armed paramilitary groups, raped, then forced into a life of slavery for these soldiers. This is not unique to these two countries though. All over the world, armed groups of men use the power of their weapons to capture and sexually abuse women and young girls. It is important to encourage governments to take responsibility for the armed groups they provide with money and weapons.|
Please address your letter to either Mr. Elfadil Ahmned, Charge d'Affairs, Embassy of the Republic of the Sudan, 85 Range Road, Suite 507-510, Ottawa, ON, K1N 8J6 or President of the Republic of Sudan, Lieutenant General
|Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir, People's Palace, PO Box 281, Khartoum, Sudan.|
I am very concerned about the treatment of young girls among the soldiers of the Lord's Resistance Army. I understand that Sudan supports and arms the LRA and thus your government can intervene in this matter.
The LRA, an army of young "child" soldiers, targets civilians with violence and terror. The LRA commonly abducts young girls and forces them to serve in the army. These girls are treated as slaves. They must perform domestic tasks, such as cooking and carrying heavy loads of wood, as well as participate in the killing of villagers and other abducted children who try to escape. The girls are raped in a forced "marriage" to more senior LRA soldiers.
Since 1986, thousands of children - most between the ages of 13 and 16 years old - have been abducted by the LRA. Some
|3000 children are believed to have escaped but thousands more have been killed during armed combat or executed by the LRA. Many of the children become bound to the LRA, believing that they would only return home as outcasts after having participated in the violence, despite the fact they were forced to do so. |
Sudan is bound by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The treatment of these children violates many of the articles found in the UDHR, including Article 3 which guarantees the right to life, liberty, and security of person; Article 4, which states that no one shall be held in slavery or servitude; and Article 5, which prohibits torture and ill-treatment, including rape.
Please use the power and influence of the Sudanese government to intervene with the LRA to free these abducted children and stop this destructive practice.
Sincerely, (your name))