Monday, June 6, 2016

Visit to Northern Uganda

I had an incredible trip to Uganda in late May and early June at the invitation of the Refugee Law Project. In May the Chair travelled to Uganda. I primarily participated in The Institute for African Transitional Justice (IATJ) an annual event established in 2010, by the Refugee Law Project (RLP) with financial support by the Democratic Governance Facility (DGF).

The event aims at bringing together African practitioners and researchers to enhance practice and theory on the continent. Some 7 participants, from ten different countries, including Spain, England, Northern Ireland, Kenya, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, Germany, United States of America and host country Uganda attended.

I gave the keynote address at the conference which focused on theme "Too little too late - or too much too soon?- The Time and Timing of Transitional Justice”. The 6th IATJ was held in Gulu from 29th May to 3rd June 2016, and it was fantastic to be in Gulu and see the developments that have taken place. The event provided an important opportunity to better understand the long-term aftermath of the war that ostensibly ended in 2008.

On visiting some local communities in Northern Uganda it was clear that the issue of dealing with the disappeared, memories of the conflict and displacement, the consequences of physical and community destruction of resources, ongoing distrust of the current government to support local communities, and inter-community trust remain key issues.

Most impressive was the local mourning rituals that have been developed around dealing with the disappeared, work with male victims of sexual violence and also the Refugee Law Projects work in the new The National Memory and Peace Documentation Centre (NMPDC).

I hope to continue to work with groups and individuals in developing work in Uganda in the coming years. 

Hut for the disappeared
Planting a tree for the disappeared
Memories inside the hut
The National Memory and Peace Documentation Centre (NMPDC) 
Exhibit in NMDPC


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