Thinking Beyond the Escape: Evaluating the Reintegration of Child Soldiers in Uganda

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AUTHOR:

Jillian LaBranche, M.A.
Associate of the Human Trafficking Center, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver

ABSTRACT

While the Lord’s Resistance Army has gained notoriety for its brutal tactics and abduction of Ugandan children, little attention has been given to the return and reintegration of these formerly abducted child soldiers. The absence of a formal reintegration program in Uganda has placed the burden of reintegration on international NGOs, but reliance on non-local organizations to successfully reintegrate child soldiers has proven challenging. This paper seeks to evaluate whether the process of reintegration in Uganda has been successful. With an overwhelming lack of up to date and methodologically sound research, variables such as PTSD, domestic violence, alcoholism, violent crime, and primary education rates are evaluated to indicate the current state of Northern Uganda. These variables indicate an unstable environment in Northern Uganda and suggest reintegration has proven unsuccessful in the Acholi region. The successful reintegration of child soldiers is demonstrated to be not merely a Ugandan issue, but an international issue.