- November 27, 2008
- Resolve Roundup
Another week passes in northern Uganda with peace talks delayed and more than one million people displaced. Here’s a roundup of the week’s most important related news:
The Good: In response to criticism, the Ugandan government said this week that it is determined to find lasting peace so that the displaced can return home to their villages. Sources suggest the government hopes that peace talks will resume later in October and they will move to quickly resolve the final agenda items. Some critics however worry that this is largely a political move to “champion” an agreement when the Commonwealth countries meet in Kampala in November. Lasting peace in northern Uganda will require political will long beyond November to support the return, recovery and re-development of war-affected communities. Still, the pressure of the Commonwealth meetings can be very useful to raise the stakes for the Government of Uganda.
The Bad: In a new report released this week, Oxfam says that most northerners feel they have not been adequately informed or consulted about the Juba peace talks. Furthermore, a majority remain skeptical that either side is truly committed to their welfare and lasting peace. This lack of information has also hindered many of the displaced from returning home. Meanwhile, conditions in the camps continue to be severe. Another report this week shows that the extreme poverty has forced many young girls and women to sell themselves for sex or enter into forced marriages. In southern Sudan, the persistence of this poverty is threatening the collapse of the fragile peace agreement. Also this week, another border flare-up over oil in Lake Albert has threatened the fragile peace between Uganda and DR Congo. This only highlights how peace in any one community in East/Central Africa is staked upon the stability of the region.
The (Somewhat) Ugly: Speaking at the UN on Tuesday, Belgium’s Prime Minister called for the arrest and trial of LRA leader Joseph Kony at the International Criminal Court. The PM’s intentions were clearly good, but his statement only adds to the growing military “war of words” that threaten the already volatile peace process. The people of northern Uganda have been clear: they want to see the Juba peace talks given a full chance to end this war. Why then must Western diplomats continue to emphasize retributive justice and “military solutions” that have rung hollow for 21 years? The increased engagement by the international community is good news, but it must be responsive first and foremost to the war-affected communities.
That does it for this week’s roundup. In the coming week, we expect to hear about LRA “consultations” on agenda item #3 kicking off, along with some reports of IDPs venturing back to their original villages. The arrival of the dry season later in October will allow people to construct their typical thatched-roof huts. Be sure to check for our daily updates at Uganda Conflict Watch!