Our new report “Cul Pi Bal” – Reparations for the Northern Ugandan Conflict addressing the outstanding commitment to deliver reparations for the conflict in Northern Uganda. Despite over a decade since the cessation of hostilities in northern Uganda and the promises of a comprehensive transitional justice programme that included reparations, it remains undelivered. A year on from the government’s publication of the National Transitional Justice Policy that set out reparations as one of five priority policy areas, there has been little progress to pass legislation to give it effect. This is notwithstanding the long-term consequences of the over two decades Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and Government of Uganda conflict on victims and their families throughout northern Uganda. This report draws from interviews with key stakeholders on their perceptions on reparations and ways to move forward the debate in July 2018. It aims to provide some general sentiments on a range of actors’ understanding of reparations, what should be considered in a reparation process and forms such measures take, as well as some of the challenges in implementing reparations for the conflict in Northern Uganda.
The report ends with a number of recommendations on reparations which include:
- The Uganda government should establish a national reparations programme on a legislative basis with a dedicated budget line for unaddressed conflict legacies, in particular the northern Uganda conflict;
- Reparations programmes should be conflict sensitive and target both direct and indirect victims and address some immediate and long-term needs of the affected communities;
- Take a gender-inclusive approach and make efforts on community education to reduce stigma;
- Create a process for children born of war to have access to birth registration, educational opportunities and land;
- Take a comprehensive approach to reparations to that they are integrated with other transitional justice mechanisms, in particular long-term reintegration programmes, for child soldiers and abductees;
- Set up a body in conjunction with a relevant international organisation on the location, recovery and identification of those missing;Design a reparation process that includes effective victim participation through the establishment of a Victims’ Champion and victim board or forum to inform and monitor policy development and implementation;
- Reparations decisions may be forthcoming from the International Criminal Court and the Ugandan International Crimes Division that should be delivered through an established national reparations programme to avoid a hierarchy of victims;
- Traditional practices should be factored into certain forms of reparations, in particular in rebuilding social trust and reintegration, but needs to be monitored to avoid unequal power relations and to ensure participation of those who are vulnerable; and
- Donors and the broader international community should realign their priorities for supporting transitional justice initiatives that consider long-term support over 20-30 years, whether in smaller 4-5-year packages of delivery or different tranches of funding of activities.