Uganda: Need to focus on returnees and remaining IDPs in transition to development
This displaced family in Itirihwa Camp, Adjumani District, stayed in the camp to educate their children, as no school functions in their area of origin, September 2010 (Photo: Will Boase for USAID/OTI/NUTI)
- Country Statistics
- Latest IDP figure:
- About 30,000
- Number of refugees:
- (Originating from the country)
5,680 (UNHCR, as of December 2011)
- Total Population:
- 32.7 million
Download Africa Overview
31 December 2012
Armed conflict between the government and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) broke out in northern Uganda in 1988, causing large-scale displacement. LRA attacks on civilians forced many to flee their homes, and in 1996 the government began to forcibly relocate people from the Acholi region into camps described as “protected villages”. By the end of 2005, around 1.8 million people had been moved. An unknown number fled to urban areas in other parts of Uganda, where they have been largely unacknowledged and unassisted.
The signing of a cessation of hostilities agreement in 2006 improved security and led to the return or settlement elsewhere of most IDPs living in camps. A shortfall in recovery and development efforts however, means the majority of returnees still struggled to access basic services during 2012. The return process has also been marred by land conflicts, sometimes leading to violence and secondary displacement.
No new assessment was carried out in 2012, therefore the number of IDPs in Uganda is still estimated to be about 30,000. The vast majority continue to live in dismantled camps and transit sites, and rely on the basic services available in neighbouring villages. They are unable to return either because of age, illness or disability, or because they have no access to land. The figure of 30,000 does not include IDPs living with rural host communities or in urban areas.
Uganda is party to the Great Lakes Pact and became the first country to ratify the Kampala Convention in 2010. It adopted a national policy on IDPs in 2004 and started to implement the Peace, Recovery and Development Plan for Northern Uganda in 2008. Despite considerable investment, however, the plan has had only a limited impact in enabling durable solutions. Donors withheld hundreds of millions of dollars in aid in 2012, following allegations of large-scale embezzlement by officials.
Uganda: Returning IDPs face further challenges over homeland
(20 April 2012)
Widespread land disputes in northern Uganda are threatening the region’s fragile peace following years of conflict between the government and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).
Over the past five years, people have steadily been returning home from some 250 IDP camps throughout the country. Once home, many have found that their land has been illegally occupied by others or that their boundaries have been moved. With foreign companies purchasing land as part of wider regional investment and redevelopment initiatives, ownership rights are often challenged.
While there has been an overall decline in poverty, the north still has higher poverty rates than the rest of the country. A new report by the World Bank reveals how the legacy of abductions, violence and internal displacement continue to challenge the health and development of northern communities.
While positive steps are being made in Uganda with regards to internal displacement, at the end of 2011, some 30,000 remain displaced in the north.
Uganda: 20,000 people expelled from their land for carbon trading scheme (23 September 2011)
According to a report released by Oxfam, the Ugandan government and a British forestry company have forcibly expelled more than 20,000 people from their homes in Uganda in recent years. Some of the evicted people said that their families had been living there for 40 to 60 years. New Forests Company (NFC) was granted a 50-year government licence in 2005 to grow trees in three districts of Uganda, reportedly to sell credits from the carbon dioxide the trees absorb to polluters in wealthier nations, under the carbon trading mechanism foreseen in the Kyoto Protocol.
In a New York Times article, NFC promised to conduct “an immediate and thorough” investigation. In the article, a Ugandan government spokesman said that the residents who had been expelled were on the land illegally, but blamed the use of violence to remove them on corrupt politicians and police officers operating outside the law.
Oxfam’s report also documents the devastating effect of land grabs in other countries already affected by internal displacement, including South Sudan, Indonesia and Guatemala.
Since the 2006 signing of a cease-fire agreement between the government of Uganda and the Lord’s Resistance Army there has been significant return of those displaced by conflict in northern Uganda. The overwhelming majority of the 1.8 million internally displaced people (IDPs) who lived in camps at the height of the crisis have returned to their areas of origin or resettled in new locations. Driven by their cultural ties to the land and the region, most have opted for return. The majority of the 30,000 still confined to camps lack financial resources to move home, are aged, disabled or unwell or have no land to return to. Support for recovery and development in areas to which IDPs have returned has been insufficient. Returnees have faced continuing difficulties due to inadequate basic services and limited support to rebuild their livelihoods. The return process has been marred by land conflicts, sometimes leading to violence. (...)
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24 May 2012
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Internal Displacement Profile
"Background and Causes of Displacement","Background and Causes of Displacement"
"IDP Population Figures","Number of IDPs","disaggregated by age and sex where data are available","Locations of IDP populations"
"Physical Security and Integrity","Physical security","dignity","mental and moral integrity "
"Basic Necessities of Life","Food and Water","Medical Care and Sanitation"
"Property, Livelihoods, Education and Other Economic, Social and Cultural Rights","Land and Property","Education"
"Family Life, Participation, Access to Justice, Documentation, and Other Civil and Political Rights","Access to Justice"
"Protection of Special Categories of IDPs (Age, Gender, Diversity)","Gender - Women and Men ","Boys","girls and adolescents ","Older persons ","Physically and mentally disabled "
"Durable Solutions","Documented returns","settled locally and settled elsewhere","Prospects for and obstacles to voluntary return","local integration and settlement elsewhere","Support for return integration and reintegration"
"National and International Response","National response","International Response"
Previous Profile updates
- Key Documents
- Humanitarian Profile - 2012, Government of Uganda, 26 December 2011
- Joint Protection Transition Strategy of the Uganda Human Rights Commission and IASC Protection Cluster, Uganda Human Rights Commission, March 2010
- IDP Return, Resettlement and Recovery in Uganda: Implementation of the National Policy for IDPs within the framework of PRDP, Office of the Prime Minister, Department of Disaster Preparedess and Refugees, 22 July 2009
- Land & Rights: Laws, Institutions and Conflicts, OHCHR, 8 July 2009
- United Nations’ Peace Building and Recovery Assistance Programme for Northern Uganda 2009-2011 (UNPRAP), United Nations, 22 June 2009
- Guidelines for the demolition of abandoned structures, Camp Coordination and Camp Management Cluster, June 2008
- Camp Phase-Out Guidelines, Office of the Prime Minister, May 2008
- A Guide to Property Law in Uganda, UN-HABITAT, December 2007
- Peace, Recovery and Development Plan for Northern Uganda, 2007-2010, Government of Uganda, September 2007
- National Internally Displaced Persons Return, Resettlement and Reintegration Strategic Plan for Lango and Teso Sub-Regions, Office of the Prime Minister, Department of Disaster Preparedess and Refugees, November 2005
- The National Policy for Internally Displaced Persons, Government of Uganda, August 2004