Issues of local communities being driven off their land, as well as issues of tension between refugees/IDP’s and host communities that we frequently report on in Northern Mozambique, occur in many different places on the continent. Below a report on the situation in Northern Uganda, from the Archdiocese of Gulu Justice and Peace Commission:
Land security and livelihood security are closely linked, especially in Acholi sub-region in the Northern Uganda, where more than 80% of the predominantly rural population depend on land for their survival, many of them as subsistence farmers. However, after 20 years of war and displacement in internally displaced people (IDP) camps and the return of people to their land. The region is currently undergoing an agricultural transformation. Foreign and local investors are investing heavily in large scale agriculture, accompanied by numerous land conflicts between them and local communities. Amuru, Nwoya and Lamwo are some of the centers of this conflicts over large scale investors.
In Gulu Archdiocese, many community members whom we (Justice & Peace) have been in contact with especially in Nwoya and Amuru Districts are all saying the same thing that their land are being taken away from them by the investors. Many illegal mark stones are being put on their land boundaries without following proper procedures on land acquisition. Many have been beaten up, dragged to court and their land are taken away by the investors.
Photo Below: One of the community land dialogue meetings in Amuru District.
The Refugees in Palabek-Gulu Archdiocese
Palabek refugee settlement is one of the newest refugee settlements in Uganda officially set up in April 2016 to reduce congestion in larger refugee camps in the north western corner of Uganda hosting over 50,000 refugees primarily from South Sudan with 85% of arrivals composing of women and children according to the Nations Development programme Human Development report.
There’s close to 1 million refugees in Uganda:
Challenges posed by refugees
Trees are being depleted by the refugees from the South Sudan in the nearby area of the camps
Stealing of animals, birds and crop from the community who are near to the refugees camp
Beating of the host community who move at night by the refugees
They are very harsh on the host community.
Women and girls face challenges of high sexual gender- based violence in the camp and this is the worst exposure to the famine sex let alone other crimes and endangerment of women and girls in the free and severe environment of the refugee camp full of trauma and psychological setback