By David Martin Aliker
The Deputy Resident District Commissioner (RDC) of Arua Alice Akello has lamented past conflicts as responsible for the current lawlessness in Arua.
“Today the youths here do not listen to elders and authority any more but are busy consuming drugs and alcohol hence an increase in mob justice.”
The Deputy RDC Alice Akello was opening a workshop organized by Refugee Law Project at Desert Breeze Hotel in Arua.
The theme of the workshop was, “Realizing Justice for Conflict-affected Women in West Nile: Which Way Forward?”
This workshop was attended by civil servants, opinion leaders, members of civil society, religious leaders and cultural leaders who are major stakeholders in addressing current conflict needs in Arua.
In her remarks, the Deputy RDC commended Refugee Law Project for working with government to address justice needs resulting from past conflicts.
She urged different civil society organizations to partner with government to address the current challenges of the youths to guarantee a great future for the youths.
Refugee Law Project (RLP) has been engaging in setting the agenda and influencing local and international stakeholders’ perspectives on critical TJ issues within Uganda and the region since 2006.
With funding from European Union, RLP periodically convenes Justice Tafakari Forums which are platforms that bring together likeminded actors from civil society organizations, opinion leaders such as religious and cultural leaders, legal and political actors, as well as the media fraternity to reflect on the processes, progress, challenges and opportunities for RLP and partners who work within the local, national and international justice structures.
RLP Manager Jackson Odong reiterated that there is need for leaders to be informed about current justice needs of women so that they speak from an informed point of view.
Jackson inquired if current leaders understand adequately the harms that women have suffered in the past conflicts.
Jackson also wondered how this justice needs for victims can be addressed so that victims can heal.He inquired whether village courts are good enough to address this issues or whether current international justice processes at the ICC is addressing adequately their justice needs.
A representative of victims of the Ombaci Massacre wondered the position of government on victims receiving justice. He said government does not express itself clearly whether they are against victims receiving justice or whether they intend to get involved in supporting them to access justice.
He also lamented the fact that over time, locals have ignored their plea and no longer speak on their plight as RLP does.
The one day workshop was the second Justice Tafakari Forum discussion in West Nile.The first one took place in Adjumani, both areas of long standing conflicts in northern Uganda.
Author is a Blogger based in Gulu