By Nicole Enns Fehr
“The war has ended, but we cannot claim that there is peace because land conflicts are continuing to destabilize communities” reflected Ms. Atim Hope, the Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative’s (ARLPI) Land Stakeholder’s Collaboration Project Officer for Gulu. Today ARLPI launched an important resource tool for addressing land conflicts that are currently plaguing Uganda.
The guide, entitled, ‘Resolving Land Conflict in Acholiland: A Guide for Community Based Stakeholders,’ and several accompanying materials including a poster on land conflict referrals and a brochure on land conflict mediation were launched publicly today. These resources seek to assist communities, and both formal and informal structures in clarifying and educating others about the land conflict mitigation process, the roles and procedures of the various structures mandated handle land conflicts, and land laws and rights in Acholiland. The reference and training tools available in both Luo and English makes the information easily accessible to those at the grassroot level.
The war between the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the Government of Uganda (GoU) resulted in over 90% of Acholi people being denied access to their ancestral land and displaced in camps. They are now returning and resettling either in their original land or in transit camps closer to their land of origin. However land conflict during the return and resettlement phase has threatened the fragile peace now enjoyed by the general population. With the many exacerbating factors including weak institutions, corruption, poverty and land greed, and misinterpretation of customary land laws, this new land conflict mitigation tool is being launched at a critical time giving it great potential to have a significant impact.
This guide is the result of the lessons learned during ARLPI’s longstanding direct involvement in land conflict mitigation. It was completed though an extensive process of consultation and collaboration with the many institutions and individuals involved in land conflict resolution as well as grassroot community members. The guide will be distributed among keys stakeholders including Area Land Committee, LC II and Sub-County Courts, cultural and religious leaders, the police, peace committees, the district land offices and other civil society organizations.
The completion of these tools is one component of ARLPI’s Land Stakeholder Collaboration Project funded by USAID/SPRING. The project works to increase and support collaboration between stakeholder groups handling land matters at the Sub-County level. Other aspects of the project include the development of a multi-stakeholder land conflict referral system and the facilitation of dialogue meetings between stakeholders and the community.
See below links for copies of manuals and brochures: