From the Ground up: Promoting dialogue and engagement within the victim community to agitate for the timely implementation of transitional justice processes
On 22nd May 2019, the Emerging Solutions Africa team was at the Obalanga Massacre Site which is approximately 48Km from Soroti town in North Eastern Uganda. There are approximately 365 people buried in a mass grave from the massacre carried out by the Lord’s Resistance Army, led by Joseph Kony, on 25th June 2004. Eventually, the LRA was defeated by the Arrow Boys who fought back with bows and arrows, spears, pangas etc. To date, the community comes together every 25th June to remember the deceased and to clean the memorial site.
ESA brought together the victims and their representatives, Community Based Organisations Representatives and community activists from the Teso sub-region to discuss the current needs and expectations of victims in the post conflict area and explored avenues of creating survivor networks which will advocate for the implementation and realization of their rights using existing institutions, laws and policies.
ESA was able to engage the victims in an interactive information session where they shared their experiences, their needs and fears with a view of laying down strategies that can be used to attain victims’ rights to effective redress and to expand the Victims’ Network.
Through the engagement ESA was able to:
- Generate response from communities and victims that result into commitment to addressing the identified problems (issues)/gaps in a participatory manner.
- Generate a deeper understanding of the nature of the epidemic among individuals and communities in order to influence change.
- Build a pool of resource persons with transformative leadership abilities and facilitation skills to scale up the community response to transitional justice and other related development issues.
- Provide a forum for the unheard to be heard.
- Promote social contacts among various groups in the community.
- To empower the victims to advocate and agitate for their own rights through awareness and sensitization about their rights
- To expand the national victims survivors network in order to provide a victim-driven platform to give victims a voice to contribute towards the policy making processes
The event was organized by Redress UK, Emerging Solutions Africa and Uganda Victims Foundation.
REDRESS UK is an International Nongovernmental organization based in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands with a mandate to assist survivors of torture and related crimes to obtain justice and other forms of reparation. The organization takes legal challenges on behalf of survivors, works on standard-setting to develop the international system of laws and principles that recognize the right to a remedy, undertakes advocacy work and awareness raising, conducts research, in collaboration with local and international partners. Redress is currently implementing a project in Uganda with the support of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs to support victims of international crimes and the local organizations assisting them to participate meaningfully in local, national and international processes of transitional justice (TJ).
Emerging Solutions Africa
Emerging Solutions Africa (ESA) is a non-governmental organization based in Uganda that focuses on enabling access to substantive justice, sustainable livelihood initiatives and public health. ESA has worked and partnered with different entities to create remedies to legal and social issues that include empowering marginalised persons against human rights abuse, violation of land rights and human trafficking among others.
Uganda Victims Foundation
The Uganda Victims’ Foundation (UVF) is a coalition of human rights and civil society NGOs in Uganda working with victims and on victims’ rights issues. The objectives of the working group are to lobby and advocate for victims’ rights especially with respect to the conflict in northern Uganda. The group was formed in 2006 following an International meeting of the Victims’ Rights Working Group in London and a second in Kampala attended by participants and representatives of about seven NGOs working with victims who acknowledged the absence of an independent victims’ rights advocacy group in the country.