Press Release: Stories of Return from Displacement in Northern Uganda
Wednesday, 07 May 2008 00:00

Back To(wards) My Home:

Individual experiences of returning IDPs in Northern Uganda

 

Source: AVSI Uganda

Contact: Brett Morton, Communications Office, +256 (0)774 303 824

 

Kitgum, Northern Uganda – A report released today by AVSI Uganda highlights the experiences of individuals in Acholiland as they move out of the camps, and return back to, or towards, their homes. The report examines the complexity of moving on from this conflict and displacement in the light of an uncertain peace, and the challenges of rebuilding nearly a generation of historically rural infrastructure.

 

After more than two decades of conflict in Northern Uganda between the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the Ugandan Government, the optimism for peace brought by the Juba Peace Talks was crumbled last month when Joseph Kony, leader of the LRA, failed to sign a final peace agreement.

 

Of the almost 2 million Internally Displaced People (IDP) living in government-established camps in 2006, nearly 800,000 still remain waiting for the security and infrastructure of their abandoned villages to be regained. In the Acholi sub-region of the North, less than 10 percent of the 1.1 million IDPs have moved back to their original homes.

 

“When we were here (in the village) we had everything we needed” explains one individual in the report.” Now, (in the camp) we have nothing. We rely on food from WFP and blankets from NGOs.”

 

While centered around individual stories, the report details some of the universal struggles and hopes of the Acholi population. The detrimental effect of camp life on Acholi youth and culture, and a desire to return to a historically agricultural-based lifestyle is expressed by those featured in the report. A desperate lack of schools, health facilities, and water sources make return here more than a matter of simple desire though.

 

Humanitarian aid in Northern Uganda must find synergy between emergency and development work, and between camp and return area interventions, the report explains. This return of the Acholi population is only the first step in rebuilding a social structure that may take decades to fully recover.

 

To download the full publication, visit the "Publications" section of this webpage.