Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Countering Conflict

Training Participants
Hi there. It’s Don Rukare, Global Rights’ Uganda country director. Last week I returned to the remote Bundibugyo District in southwestern Uganda to continue training our local partners on conflict prevention. This time, I brought with me officials from the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) and the Centre for Dispute Resolution (CECORE).

Although Uganda has made strides toward democratic governance, it is subject to tensions, including those fueled by ethno-religious and political differences, disparities in access to resources, and unemployment, all of which can and have spilled over into violence. As demonstrated by our current work, some of our paralegal partners have already diffused local tensions through efforts to mediate between ethnic communities embroiled in conflict.

Understanding the different types and causes of conflict, and how to use early response systems, such as the UHRC and the CECORE, to prevent conflict is essential to create a climate in which rule of law is honored in Uganda.  

As part of our USAID-funded project to enhance civil society’s ability to respond to mass human rights atrocities that often provoke full scale conflict, we’re training our partners  on the types and causes of conflict, how to undertake a conflict analysis, early warning mechanisms and ways to partner with the UHRC and CECORE to prevent conflict.

Our partner paralegals will act as the frontline ears and eyes of the UHRC. Throughout this project, they will
  • Engage in conflict mediation; 
  • Identify and document human rights violations;
  • Recognize drivers of conflict and escalating patterns;
  • Convene “town hall” meetings of stakeholders to address grievances in collaboration with the UHRC, thereby raising awareness of conflict drivers and atrocity prevention methods;
  • Channel observations through a structured early warning/early prevention system to be coordinated with the UHRC.

Group Work
I’m also happy to share with you that this month, five law students from the Public Interest Litigation Clinic at Makerere University’s Law School will spend two months in Bundibugyo providing technical support to our conflict mediation paralegals.  This is the first time these students will be in be in the far-removed Bundibugyo District—we are very excited to have them work with us!

I look forward to keeping you updating on our conflict prevention work this summer.


Global Rights thanks USAID for their generous support of this groundbreaking project.

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