Ethical issues in the re-integration of ex-child combatants in Acholi Sub Region: A case study of Gulu District, Uganda
Engenye, Peter Deo
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The LRA war has come to an end and as people are going back to their homes, the re-integration of ex-child combatants into families and community is taking place as well. Although ethical guidelines on the re-integration process do exist, the question is whether the ethical standards are being observed in the process of re-integration of ex-child combatants in Gulu district. The study assessed the normative ethical standards and guidelines in the re-integration process with the view of establishing whether they are adhered to. It proved that application of ethical standards and guidelines in the re-integration process has led to successful re-integration of ex-child combatants and that the use of traditional mechanisms is key in the re-integration process. This was a descriptive study conducted in the four divisions of Gulu municipality and Bobi Sub-county in Omoro County using both quantitative and qualitative methods. A total of 215 ex-child combatants and 104 parents or guardians were interviewed using structured questionnaires. Six focus group discussions were held with children, and parents or guardians and ten key informants were interviewed. The study found out that not all the ex-child combatants took the same duration at the reception centres. A small percentage took up to 9 months; this contravenes Article 20 of the UNCRC. In addition, there was limited adherence to ethical standards and guidelines during the re-integration process as a significant number did not pass through the reception centres. For a successful re-integration process, ethical standards need to be adhered to. It is recommended that ex-child combatants should pass through all the stages of the re-integration process and receive a comprehensive package for sustainable recovery, peace and development.