Navigating the question of protection for internally displaced persons (IDPs) require significant attention to their concerns in developing sustainable solutions. In certain instances, relocation may be resisted. Such resistance may be symptomatic of certain issues that need to be addressed. With a specific focus on the Bududa residents in the Mt. Elgon region of Uganda, this Policy Brief written by Onen David Ongwech examines the issue of resistance to relocation and advocates for rethinking protection strategies.
In case you missed the 2020 National Virtual Learning Event on Child Protection, and/or the presentation made during the event by Mr. Onen David Ongwech (RLP’s Programme Manager Gender & Sexuality), we are pleased to share a copy of the presentation titled; “Our Parents Do Not Know” Homeschooling fatigue among refugee children during COVID-19 induced lockdown”.
The 2020 National Virtual Learning Event on Child Wellbeing took place from 25 – 26 Nov 2020 and was co-hosted by the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development and the National Child Protection Working Group (NCPWG) guided by the theme “Child wellbeing during and Post COVID-19 Context in Uganda”.
When peacekeepers are equipped to understand, respond to and prevent some of the dynamics that can destabilise an often fragile peace, then their value is greatly enhanced in post-conflict situations. This is particularly the case if they are able to engage pro-actively on issues of conflict-related sexual violence and its ‘post-conflict’ manifestations in the form of sexual exploitation and abuse. The report offers testimony to the value of such training endeavours, as well as to the importance of the International Protocol as a guiding document around which to organise both the content and the process.
Since the first case of COVID-19 was detected in Uganda, lives have and continue to change dramatically. With several measures and televised Presidential directives, the #StayHome mantra continues to impact lives in various ways. Refugees and host communities have not been spared – if any, the pandemic has worsened the already biting challenges and vulnerabilities.
With some vulnerable communities in ‘hard-to-reach’ places at the receiving end of the directives and its associated enforcement and curfew, many of the things happening in and around refugee-hosting areas haven’t made it to the media. Many refugees and hosts are mired in inadequately documented challenges.
While communities have not resigned themselves to the hurdles at hand and are adopting numerous creative coping mechanisms, the ways in which such resilience and positive coping mechanisms can be supported and replicated elsewhere by government, civil society, and international actors requires further exploration.
In the statement to mark the occasion, RLP asked the question; What if we responded to sexual violence in conflict as an existential threat? The press statement took a critical look at what the national and international response to COVID-19 has taught us thus far about our collective potential to end sexual violence in conflict. If we can mobilise the resources and will to develop a vaccine for COVID-19, if we can close airports and public transport to better control the virus, couldn’t we do the same to better control sexual violence in conflict? While COVID-19 has directly harmed our capacity to respond to survivor needs in the short term, it has also made clear that to eliminate sexual violence in conflict we need a sea change in how it is perceived. We need to see it as the existential threat it undoubtedly is, and invest time, effort and resources correspondingly.
On 23 October 2019, the UN Secretary-General announced the establishment of a High-Level Panel on Internal Displacement in an event organised to mark the 10-anniversary of the adoption of the African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Africa a.k.a Kampala Convention. Herein, I argue that the yet to be composed panel should look deeply into the vulnerabilities of refugees and focus on addressing the root causes of internal displacements.
The Kingdom of the Netherlands recently (7-8 October 2019) demonstrated its commitment to improving Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) for millions of people affected by conflicts and forced displacements through the first International Conference on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Crisis held in Amsterdam. I bring to you the (audio-recorded) speech of Dr. Olaro Charles, Director of Clinical Services at the Ministry of Health who represented the Government of the Republic of Uganda at the conference.
After several years of work on Conflict-Related Sexual Violence (CRSV), this declaration is a demonstration that through rigorous advocacy, we can collectively realise progressive transformation towards better support for survivors/victims and gender inclusivity. However, herculean hurdles lie ahead of the journeys toward realising contexts where all survivors can access and uptake services without discrimination, and where survivors/victims are not only beneficiaries of services but also active partners in response to and prevention of sexual violence.
Following RLP’s contribution at the 49th Session of the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture (UNFVT) on 3 April 2019 during which Aimé Moninga and David Onen Ongwech, Programme Manager Gender & Sexuality, represented Refugee Law Project and amplified the voices of male survivors of Conflict-related Sexual Violence (CRSV), we are pleased to share the report of the Public Event and the Annual Expert Workshop produced by the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner.
This briefing paper follows RLP's participation in the commemoration of the Day of the African Child (June 19) under the theme "Humanitarian Action in Africa: Children's Rights First" during which we organised two roundtable discussions - one with children and the other with adults caretakers to discuss key issues related to the theme of the day.