Francis Happy Muhindo
Program Officer, Peace, KRC Uganda
KRC Uganda is working to establish community-based structures aimed at identifying, reporting, mitigating and referring conflict related situations amongst refugees and host communities in Northern Uganda. The European Union funded program, “Advancing Peaceful Co-existence & Respect for Human Rights among the refugees and host communities in Northern Uganda”, will be contributing to long term outcomes on peace and conflict transformation and ensuring that:
- At least 40% of the refugees and host communities report increased levels of satisfaction of services related to management of cases of human rights violations and abuses.
- At least 50% of community-based resource conflict cases are resolved through mediation & other alternative dispute resolution mechanisms among refugee & host communities
- At least 50% of local structures are engaged in promoting refugees and host communities through participation in leadership, decision-making & policy development
In Bidibidi Refugee Settlement, a dynamic team of energetic men and women, designated as Community Peace Keepers (CPK) has been established to carry on the work of peace building in their communities. The 20 members team comprises of representatives of Refugees and those from host communities. Refugee representatives were drawn from Abirimajo main zone 4 and Yangani Clusters made of a total of 16 villages; while those from the host communities were drawn from Odraga, Obomori, Migoro and Jomorogo villages in Odravu Sub County, Yumbe District.
The team was equipped with comprehensive skills in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), Alternative to Violence Prevention (AVP), people to people, peace building sessions, early warning, mobilization and documentation, Case management and basic Human Rights and the Land Policy. The training was conducted by resource persons from KRC Uganda and the Uganda Law Society. A Rapid Test was administered on the team to ascertain their knowledge and experience of the kind of work to be undertaken, their availability and reliability.
In their Terms of Reference, Community Peace Keepers were assigned to:
- Identify and report early warning signs and/or actual conflicts as they happen
- Document conflict related cases within their locality
- Refer conflict incidents to relevant authorities (KRC, Local Councils, Refugee Welfare Councils, Police, Community Development Officers and Resident District Commissioners)
- Keep a case journal for the various cases handled/followed up to conclusion by you and/or referred to other stakeholders for further management
- Compile and submit monthly reports to KRC detailing cases reported, mediation sessions handled and cases referred for further management and recommendations to KRC legal team and/or other authorities using a template that shall be shared
- Periodically update KRC and other stakeholders through social media and other available platforms about incidents that may arise from time to time
- Constantly follow-up and Keep track of specific incidents as they may happen, provide evidence to these cases; photos, audio/video clips, Police reference numbers and any other documents relevant to such incidents
- Give feedback on specific issues reported about where necessary
- Keep an attendance register for participants involved in specific mediation sessions.
- Compile and share success stories / news articles within their line of assignment
- Participate in periodic training sessions, situation room meetings and other engagements aimed at enriching their work
- Facilitate Guidance and Counselling sessions among affected individuals, households and/or communities and groups of people
- Facilitate Mediation and reconciliation sessions among conflicting parties
It’s envisaged that once this assignment is fulfilled, it will alleviate tensions amongst refugees and between refugees and host communities.