Conflict, displacement, and land rights in northern Uganda

Alozie Nnabugwu has made this excellent comment in response to Module 4, Assignment 2. Note that this is a current concern and that placing the land rights issue front and center concerning this conflict is something that Land Rights online course participants could take on as a project.

From Alozie:

The long-running conflict in northern Uganda between the government and
the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) is often considered one of Africa’s
forgotten humanitarian catastrophes. During the past two years, the profile
of the war has been raised, both politically – especially with the
involvement of the International Criminal Court – and in humanitarian
terms, with a (long overdue) increase in presence and commitment from the
international community. Yet one aspect of the crisis continues to escape
discussion and attention. One hears talk of ‘rights’, ‘the law’ and
‘justice’ in relation to the situation of internally displaced people in
the north, but little on the fact of displacement itself.

Displacement, being moved from one’s land and being forced to settle somewhere else, is an issue of legal land rights. While the impact of displacement is a humanitarian concern, land rights themselves are rarely considered. Mass displacement in northern Uganda began in 1996, when the government ordered civilians into camps, in most cases without prior discussion with host communities. A second round of government-organised displacement took place in 2002, and people have also been displaced by the fear of rebel attack. The current camp population is estimated at around 1.5 million, including the existing inhabitants of the land where the camps are now situated. Since host populations live in the same camps, and may also have limited access to land, they are also generally considered to be IDPs.

In a nutshell, Land value capture will be a better option to peace.

Alozie Nnabugwu