24 September 2015
In Barlonyo, a community representative of the all victims and war survivors across the world, A young man, who had himself lived through the horrors of conflict and war, was to raise the Global Goals Flag for Sustainable Development Goal 16; Peace and Justice. Victor OCHEN, the youngest African and first Ugandan ever to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize partnered with the UN and Global Goals as an Ambassador for Peace and Justice, SDG 16 and Africa Spokesperson for the 17 Global Goals.
Demonstrating his commitment to war victims and campaigning for a peaceful Africa and world over, He raised the flag in Barlonyo, Lira district in Uganda. There was a match with thousands of people from across the Country and Globe; Women and Children, Victims and War Survivors’ Associations, youth groups and students, Government representatives, local CSOs and representatives from International Organizations who came together to be part of this milestone event. Amidst thrills of excitement and hope with the huge crowd spread out across the Monumental Massacre Burial grounds, Victor OCHEN hoisted the SDG 16 Flag.
“Peace and Justice for the Barlonyo victims and all Uganda!, Peace for Syria!, Peace for South Sudan!, Peace for Somalia! Peace for the whole world!” Victor OCHEN passionately spoke. He went on to appeal to the leaders in Uganda, in regard to the upcoming Presidential elections, to consider and heed the peoples’ voice and desire for peace even through the election period.
At the event was a young lady, Akello Betty, who had sustained a bullet wound in her leg at 4 years of age, during an attack by the LRA (Lords Resistance Army) rebels in Barlonyo. She spoke of how she had gone through tremendous pain without help for a long time until she was approached by AYINET (African Youth Initiative Network) and became a beneficiary of the Medical and Psycho-social Rehabilitation program that has helped over 5000 war victims with reconstructive medical surgeries and psycho-social support. Betty narrated her ordeal and sincere happiness and gratitude for her recovery, after which She requested Victor OCHEN to unwrap the bandage now that she was totally healed.
“There can be no Peace within a person suffering in pain, This is the Peace we desire, that includes physical and emotional healing from the atrocities suffered.” Victor OCHEN observed after carefully unwrapping the bandage off Betty’s leg. He also acknowledged and appreciated the volunteers, partners and community leaders who had contributed to make it possible for all the victims to recover and be at peace, by the care and support received through the program.
The event was colored with presentations of traditional folk-dances, special songs and speeches from the War Victims groups, students, community leaders and Government representatives all supporting Peace and Justice for everyone.
“I went through war and suffering and know what it means, With this opportunity at hand (SDGs), We should all work together for total Peace and Justice”. Mr. Mwaka Lukutumoi (Resident District Commissioner, Lira)
We offer our heartfelt appreciation to all war victim communities, Government representatives, partners, International community, and youths whose participation, commitment and efforts contributed to raising the voices of the people for Peace and Justice, without which other development goals may not be