On September 23 2015, African Youth Initiative Network (AYINET) launched a project entitled ‘Rehabilitating Communities and Victims for Effective Recovery’ (RECOVER) with the support from Democratic Governance Facility (DGF). This project will offer medical repair and psycho-social counseling to the victims of war in greater northern Uganda in the sub regions of Lango, Acholi, Teso and West Nile. This program seeks to help the war victims and survivors to recover from both physical injuries and the deep emotional hurt and scars as a practical way to build and promote peace among this vulnerable group whose recovery greatly contributes to cultures of tolerance, forgiveness, and peace in the region and nation as a whole.
This comes at a highly significant time when Victor OCHEN, the Executive Director of AYINET, partners with the United Nations and Sustainable Development Goals as a Global Ambassador for SDG 16; Peace and Justice. On September 24 2015, he will raise the Peace and Justice flag in an event to welcome Global Goals in Barlonyo, Lira district in Northern Uganda. Barlonyo is a community that experienced mass violation of Human Rights abuses by LRA rebels and still seeks justice. Healing is a practical demonstration of peace and justice, and we are glad to extend support to the War victims and survivors.
This project therefore aims to achieve the following:
- Strengthening the right to health and life of 1,200 victims of serious crimes, reducing their vulnerability hence resulting in significantly improved quality of life for them and their households.
- Improving coping and resilience for the victims so as to facilitate more effective participation in the Transitional Justice processes.
- Fostering a broader understanding of the conflict in the greater northern region through documentation of the impact of armed violence on people’s physical and mental health.
- Treating the victims of physical and mental violence with dignity and respect in documenting their stories, which form an important part of a historical understanding and record in Uganda’s history.
- Ensuring “Do-No-Harm” Transitional Justice processes as a result of quality and consistent psycho-social support by the well-trained counselors and medical officers.
We work for peace and justice, through transitioning victims of war from poor medical conditions brought by the war to regain their health rights status and be able to participate in all pillars of development as other healthy people do.
By providing medical and counseling support, we directly implement Global Goal 16 on Peace and Justice, since victims of war may not appreciate peace and justice with a bad state of physical and mental health.
As the British High Commissioner to Uganda, Alison Blackburne, wrote in the New Vision Paper, on Tuesday, September 15, 2015: “Uganda can be very proud that the country’s first Nobel Peace Prize nominee and the founder of African Youth Initiative Network, Victor Ochen, has been chosen as the Global Ambassador for Sustainable Development Goal on peace and justice.” She recognizes the critical role that civil societies play in keeping governments accountable and representing the diverse interests of the population, including its most vulnerable groups.
It is my appeal that the whole world should join AYINET in working for peace and justice, not only for the victims of war, but also for all people around the world. We are looking forward to working together and achieving a world free from violence, with respect for human rights and using its approach as a basis for development.