31 December 2013 |

Uganda: Internal displacement in brief

As of December 2013


Attacks by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the government’s strategy of forcibly relocating civilians in displacement camps caused large-scale displacement in northern Uganda in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Inter-communal violence and cattle raids also forced people to flee their homes.

Following the signing of a cessation of hostilities agreement in 2006, most of the 1.8 million IDPs living in camps returned to their places of origin. Others settled in new locations. The latest available estimate, from December 2011, was that 29,800 people were still living in camps. The number has fallen since, but according to the Uganda Human Rights Commission four camps are still open. An assessment is needed to establish the number of IDPs living in these camps, and to get an insight of their vulnerabilities. There are no comprehensive figures for IDPs living with host communities or in urban areas.

Many returnees have inadequate access to basic services and only limited support to re-establish their livelihoods. The return process in northern Uganda has also been marred by conflicts over land, sometimes leading to secondary displacement. Recovery and development programmes have suffered major delays. The revelation in 2012 that the prime minister’s office had embezzled $13 million of aid money has led to a severe reduction in international funding.

Uganda is a party to the Great Lakes Pact, and in 2010 it became the first country to ratify the Kampala Convention. It adopted a national policy on IDPs in 2004, which has provided a useful framework to address displacement. It should, however, be reviewed to harmonise it with the Kampala Convention’s provisions and make it more relevant to the current situation