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”.
The 2020 National Virtual Learning Event on Child Wellbeing starts today 25 – 26 Nov 2020. The event is 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”. I’m glad my abstract titled “Our Parents Do Not Know” Homeschooling fatigue among refugee children during COVID-19 induced lockdown was accepted.
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.
For refugees, the Covid 19 pandemic is beyond a health crisis, but escalates challenges faced by those already pushed to the margins of society. Refugees are not only at risk from the virus itself, they are severely affected by the negative impacts of measures to control the pandemic. In our statement, Inactivity is Perpetration we highlight the plight of refugees in Uganda during the pandemic; tribal clashes within the settlements, food ratio reductions, gender-based violence exacerbated by the Covid 19 prevention stay at home guidelines, inadequate information, failure to access medical services, are just some of the challenges faced by refugees that the pandemic has amplified.
A thought-provoking blog piece written by Wokorach Mogi, our SGBVP Officer – Kampala Office. In his piece, titled “The Loud Silence: The plight of refugee male survivors of conflict-related sexual violence” Mogi brings out his extensive experience in the complex field of working with refugee male survivors of Conflict-related Sexual Violence (CRSV) in Kampala, Gulu and Nakivale. He explicates key challenges male survivors grapple with, especially focusing on dilemmas in seeking and uptaking services so as to (re)gain their full functionality as well as lead dignified lives.
The international criminal law (ICL) system can only hear and describe a tiny fraction of what people experience, particularly when it comes to sexual violence. The ICL system not only makes it difficult for victims to disclose their experiences, but often misplaces, deprioritises and erases the sexual elements of violence under other headings such as ‘torture’ and ‘inhumane treatment’. This is what inspired ‘Call It What It Is’, a campaign designed to enable victims to freely testify in a system where sexual violence is better articulated.
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.