Transitional Justice in Uganda
“Dear people of Uganda, I am deeply honoured to have been asked by the African Youth Initiative Network to join you at this crucial moment in Uganda’s history.”
Archbishop Desmond Tutu
“We are looking forward to this opportunity to mobilise victims across Uganda to engage in the Transitional Justice process, as well as collaborate with all and work towards the national reconciliation and achieve a better future for all”
Victor Ochen Director AYINET.
Decades of civil war and insurgency have left deep scars in Uganda’s history. To date, the country is still struggling with how to address the horrific legacies of wars. Almost all parts of the country have had the bitter experience of conflicts. Northern Uganda, in particular, became infamous for adversities and violence defining its days for over twenty years during which the Lord’s Resistance Army carried out its horrific rebellion.
Timo-kica! Etimonoros! Tuturahamwe! Tusonyuwaganye! Whether in Lango, Teso, Ankole, Buganda, or any other language, from North to South, East to West, the cry is the same: “We want reconciliation; we all want to live in peace as one country.”
The African Youth Initiative Network (AYINET), a Ugandan national human rights non governmental organisation, has been working since 2005 to support war victims. In that time, it has provided medical and psychosocial rehabilitation to over about 5,000 direct victims of mutilations, gun shots, burns, sexual abuse, and others across the Greater North still living with physical war-related wounds.
In our efforts to complement Uganda’s Government’s efforts to carry out a successful Transitional Justice process, AYINET engaged in countrywide consultative victims’ mobilisation and awareness creation on Transitional Justice, emphasising the roles that the victims can play and the potential which Transitional Justice has to change Uganda.
Building from country-wide consultative outreaches, during which AYINET collected victims’ and communities’ views and priorities, AYINET organised the first ever National War Victims’ Conference in Kampala from 28 to 30 May 2014. Over 250 representatives of victims from all corners of Uganda, representatives of victims and civil society organisations from Kenya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Nigeria, Burundi, South Africa, South Sudan, Ivory Cost and Senegal participated.
The National War Victims’ Conference was designed as a platform to unite victims from Uganda, civil society organisations, the Government, development partners and academia in order to develop a roadmap for successful Transitional Justice processes in Uganda.
Numerous civil society organisations, both national and international, were among the participants, as well as development partners such as the UNDP, the OHCHR, DGF, Peace Corps Uganda, and foreign diplomatic representations from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and USA. His Grace Archbishop Desmond Tutu from South Africa gave an inspirational address to the Conference participants. He appealed to Ugandan to embrace Transitional Justice because it has the potential of changing the country for good.