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Friday, May 11, 2018

COMMUNITY OF KIRUMYA SUB COUNTY TO MONITOR HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES.


The citizens of Bundimulombi in Kirumya Sub County agreed to monitor human rights violations that are causing conflicts in their area. This was during the sensitization meeting that was conducted by Bundibugyo Young Empowerment and Health (BYEAH) local CBOs that is working on the rights of women and children. The meeting was held in Bundimulombi village. It was attended by police officers, CDO, LC chairperson and elders and opinion leaders among others.

According to OC police of Katumba police station, he mentioned that the meeting has come at a time when the relationship between the police and the community is not the best the best. And thus it has give police an opportunity to explain the procedure of how matters are handling especially those related to arrests of suspects and bail. The community had been accusing the police and leaders of selective arrest and prosecution. This violated the rights of fair trail, fair hearing, and rights and freedom of speech and expression. On the other hand rights of suspect at police custody had been reported as being violated by police especially when the matters have been taken as politically motivated.

After some deliberations, the community agreed to monitor and report these violation to others offices responsible. On the other hand community were asked to observe the proper procedure of handling matter through dialogue ,mediation and report criminal matters to relevant authorities for legal redress. Such matters as those related to rape and defilement and abuse of office.
BYEAH is a CBO supported by RIC-NET to implement the project, community action to manage and prevent conflicts and human rights violations in the Rwenzori region of Uganda. According to Mr. Abraham Bamwitirebye an opinion leader in Kirumya, he advised the community to keep on attending their meeting such that they can be  able to reduce on the fear the people have over the armed personnel and created and working relationship with them ,

Thursday, April 26, 2018

WE SHALL ISOLATE THEM.


Bundibugyo District leaders held an interface meeting to review the reports on conflicts and human rights violations as shared by the citizens/community members and the application of the provisions of the Cultural Institutions Act at community. Present in the meeting were LCV chairperson, RDC, DISO, DPC, CAO, Resident state Attorney, ministers from OBB and OBR, leaders from faith based organization, UWA, women council leaders PWDs leaders and the Youth leaders and CDOs and police OC station for the implementing sub counties.
The key issues highlighted in the report were the role of individual in fueling conflicts. These are individual related and or working in the disguise of cultural institutions. Most citizens report conflicts related to the relationship with the armed forces, domestic related matters, land and matters related to handling cases in court and at police stations.

According the CO of Kanyamwirima Army Barracks, he agreed with the report and mentioned that “most people lack exposure…community still think individuals are bigger than them”. We need therefore to identify those few individuals who are using their power, influence and authority to cause problems in the District. It was noted that what appear in the reports is because the armed personnel relate more often with the community than any other public servant.
It was therefore resolves that, the office of the DCDO to direct all CDOs to conduct community sensitization on peace and conflict management than leaving the work to the NGOs. A further analysis of the current status after several interventions should be done to evaluate the efforts already put in place. Since children are most affected by conflicts, a review of the implementation of children related legal frameworks should be done to ensure children are protected. The CAO pledge to conduct a breakfast briefing with the civil servants reminding them of their mandate to protect children, women and other socially excluded groups for the good of the community.
In his closing remarks, the LCV chairperson mentioned that “...we must all work on the attitude and mindset of the people, to look at bundibugyo as our home where we all need to enjoy...ensure our people concentrate on issues that have value than mere politicking..”. We must all support and work on these areas highlighted in the report to improve the peaceful situation that we are starting to enjoy.

Monday, March 12, 2018

LEARNING FROM THE 1994 GENOCIDE AGAINST THE TUTSI IN RWANDA

Rwenzori information centers network (RIC-NET) was represented at the 16th edition of the Peace Building Institute(PBI) in Kigali Rwanda by Ms Kenyana Evelyn .The insitute is implemented by Never Again Rwanda (NAR) which is a social justice and peace building organization in Rwanda.The theme for this year's PBI was" creating a network of global peace ambassadors" .The institute received over 30 university students and young professionals from 11 countries across Africa which included : Uganda ,Rwanda ,Kenya, Tanzania,Nigeria , Cameroon, Burundi ,Sudan , Democratic republic of Congo (DRC)south Sudan and Zimbabwe
Participants during a visit to he king's palace museum in Nyanza 
The two weeks peace building institute kicked off on 26th Feb 2018 at the Great season’s hotel in Kigali Rwanda. During the two weeks participants were exposed to presentations about transitional justice, reconciliation, the role of youth , women and faith based organizations in peace building, conflict analysis and management and visits to different sites including museums and genocide memorial sites across Rwanda which gave a real feel of what the Rwanda genocide of 1994 against the Tutsi meant among other topics discussed  .
RIC-NET staff 2nd left sharing her views during one of the group discussions
Key notes from the institute:

I have learnt that we should forgive people for all they do, if the people of Rwanda forgave each other for all the atrocities then there is nothing hard to forgive. Unifying against a common problem is the best way to solve problems “it’s us against the world “the people of Rwanda came together as Abanyarwanda not Tutsi, Hutu or Twa to fight against genocide and its effects.

I have also learnt that we as young people and  community members need to find solutions to our own challenges (home based solutions) like the Gacaca system of justice  used in Rwanda after genocide was less costly and handled a lot of cases in a short period of time .I have also learnt that we as citizens of our countries have a role to pay in the development of our countries basing on the example of Umuganda (community work) in Rwanda where community members played a big role in the construction of schools, roads and other public institutions .I also learnt that critical thinking is an important tool in conflict prevention and peace building as people who analyse issues first cannot easily be manipulated since they think about consequences of their actions and this enables them to make better decisions  and this helps to avoid manipulation from leaders or other people that may have bad intentions. 


RIC-NET staff (extreme left )with some of the  participants during the visit  at the presidential palace museum 
The 2 weeks institute was reported in the new vision Uganda on 1st march 2018.Follow urlhttps://www.newvision.co.ug/new_vision/news/1472260/kigali-conference-african-youth-urged-critical-thinkers


 


Wednesday, March 7, 2018

FPA’s FROM KIRUMYA CONDUCT REVIEW MEETING.

Foot peace ambassadors from Bundibugyo young empowerment and health (BYEAH) and Bundimulangya Multipurpose all based in Kirumya Sub County in bundibugyo District conduct a review meeting of how far they have move with peace building activities in the community. The meeting was held on the 7th march 2018 at the sub county headquarters. It was also attended by the OC police station of Kirumya and LCIII chairperson.
FPAs reflecting on their actions.

The review meeting was a result of several community meetings that had been conducted at Katumba trading center and Bundikeke in the same sub county. The community meeting was on sensitizing the community on the aspect of peace, methods of promoting co-existence and human rights protection and promotion. The impact of the community sensitization meetings has been the creation of awareness on peace and co-existence, protection and promotion of human rights, community members been able to engage with their leaders.
leaders of FPAs with the security persons


During this review meeting, the FPAs realized that much as community are aware of their dangers of conflicts, there is need to deeply concentrate on monitoring, and documenting the changes that are coming out of the meetings conducted, focus on girl child education, sensitize the community on the increase rate of school drop out that soon may lead to redundancy among the youth who may resort to drug abuse and stealing in the near future. As well the members realized that in doing their work they need to continue engaging with the leaders and other duty bearers in order to realize their goal of protection and promotion of human rights with the ultimate goal of peace and co-existence in the sub county.

SECURITY PERSONNEL TRAINED IN HUMAN RIGHTS PROTECTION.

On 6th march 2018, RIC-NET and HURINET trained security personnel on rights and protection of human rights. The trained was held at Vanilla hotel Bundibugyo town. It was attended by  District security officers/commanders and CIMIC from the Police, UPDF, Prison service, UWA, the Resident District Commissioner (RDC), Resident State Attorney (RSA), District Chairperson (LCV), Chief administrative Officer(CAO), DCDO; the Division UPDF spokesperson, officers from the Police and prison Child protection Unit, internal Security officers(ISO/CMI), police OC stations from the sub counties of Bubukwanga, Ntotoro, Kirumya, Bukonzo;  and CSO working on human rights .

The training involved introduction human rights, human rights principles, human rights instruments. The laws in Uganda in relation to human rights, the roles of right holders and duty bearers in protection and promotion of human rights. We also looked at the Human right Based Approach as used by the duty bearers, the referral system in reporting and monitoring human rights abuses and violations, the Do no Harm principles and its implication in doing protection and promotion of human rights as well as role of security towards peace building and child protection.
UPDF spokesperson Kakurungu said, “the training has come at a time when duty bearers in this district were regarded as key violators of human rights basing on the fact that the district has gone through series of conflicts that up to now we have not realized total peace."
Some sections of the community blame the security for taking side in the matter. the spokesperson promised to mobilize the men in uniform at least to have a doze of the training especially those involved in operation to ensure the protect and promote rights of the citizens as per their mandate.

On the other hand, it was observed that, some duty bearers were not aware of their mandate as per law establish especially in the exercising their mandate in cases where the law is silent on certain issues. An example of the public order management actors was sighted where, the law takes of notifying police but it has been interpreted depending on the situation at hand, detention for more than 48 hours at police before produced in court, rights to bail and police demanding for transport before they arrest a suspect. In this case, it’s not police as an institution but individuals with specific interest in the matter.

At the end of the trained, members resolved that: community policing should be done regularly to ensure the citizens understand better the role of the security;
Each individual (right holder or duty bearer) must understand his/her limit, the interest of the individual should not override the standards set aside by law and other instruments; Duty bearers should always practice human rights based approach (HRBA) in their day to day activities; Joint monitoring of human rights along all sectors like health, education, transport, in local government and other non state actors should be done.
 Participants conducted a learning visit at Bundibugyo prison to gain knowledge on the human rights situation of the inmates.

Monday, March 5, 2018

We promise to do our best



We promise to do our best, these were words of the conflict affected girls in Rwamwanja refugee camp being trained at CEKA with in partnership with RIC-NET.The new training session that started in December 2017 is attended by Mapendo Leah (19), Alliance Penina, (21), Jeanathe Bahiyi (20), Nyiramkunda providence (23) and Sara Mugire (18).
Having left DR Congo in 2017, these girls have no way to fend for themselves apart from the food supplied by the humanitarian agencies. The training in tailoring or hair dressing coupled with psycho social support and business management skills will enable them earn regular income and a positive outlook to life.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Evelyn K, from RIC-NET participates in the intertanional African youth conference on peace building in Kigali





 PEACE BUILDING
Youths across Africa have been urged to be critical thinkers and avoid being manipulated by wrong people if they want to be great future leaders in their communities.


Participants from different African countries paying their respects to the victims of the Rwandan genocide. (Credit: Steven Odeke)
This was during the on-going Peace Building programme at the Great Seasons Hotel in the Rwandan capital Kigali. The conference is now in its 16th edition and is organised by Kigali-based peace building and social justice organisation, Never Again Rwanda (NAR).  It seeks out youthful participants, especially university students and young professionals across the Great Lakes region and other African countries to teach them ways of promoting sustainable peace, prevent genocide and promote social justice in their respective communities.
Participants at the conference are from Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, Cameroon, Democratic Republic Of Congo, Burundi, Sudan, South Sudan, Zimbabwe and Rwanda.
From left, Shawgi Omer Nawai Ahmed (Sudan), Lokii Lokwaar Eliah (South Sudan) and Sawsan Musa Adam Abdul-jalil (Sudan) attending a session. (Credit: Steven Odeke)
Right from the start of the conference Monday this week, facilitators addressing the over 30 youthful participants have been making reference to Rwanda’s dark past (1994 genocide), the Cambodian 1975 genocide and the German-Armenian genocide. They have cited the infamous events as case studies of bloodbaths that involved so many youths who had been brainwashed and misled by wrong people to commit the atrocities that could have been avoided or prevented.

Ronah Amanyabyona, 21, is a Ugandan participant at the event.  A volunteer at Youth Aid Africa with focus on peace-building in Kampala,says “I have learnt a lot about being peaceful at heart and relating with everyone regardless of their cultures. I believe lessons from this conference will help me be an able leader in communities back home" .

Evelyn Kenyana,(25) a youth Development officer at Rwenzori Information Centers Network, had this ti say.“For a person who comes from an area that is recovering from conflicts in Kasese, I am being taught in this conference about reconciliation and transitional justice. Reconciliation is about forgiveness and I intend to impart that to the youth I work with and handle in post-conflict areas back home in Kasese district,".

 Ugandan participants Ronah Amanyabyona and Silas Baryagasha looking at the wall of fame at Kigali genocide memorial that has a list of genocide victims. (Credit: Steven Odeke)
One of the faciliators is Johnson Mugaga, division manager in charge of all programmes at the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NURC). He led the participants through the causes and stages of genocide in Rwanda.  Mugaga says the manipulation of political crises and economic turndown by leaders to scapegoat a vulnerable group, usually the minority, as is the case in Rwanda, is what leads to so many conflicts. “There are always excuses that stimulate wars that the youth today must detect and avoid. The Nazis blamed the jews for the loss of World War I and the economic crisis of 1929 and the Rwandan government accused the Tutsi in Rwanda for being part of the invading RPF forces in 1990. We all know what happened thereafter." The two-week conference ends on March 9.
Adapted from The New Vision 
By Steven Odeke Added 1st March 2018 12:42 PM 
https://www.newvision.co.ug/new_vision/news/1472260/kigali-conference-african-youth-urged-critical-thinkers 

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Tears of Joy



Though not alone, in the refugee camp one is lonely. “Sometimes you feel the world has ended on you, eventually a new ray of hope comes in and life starts afresh”. These were words of uwuzei Naume after finishing a 6 months training in tailoring and receiving her brand new sewing machine.

Naume, lost all her parents and siblings during the conflict in Congo. Alone in Kyangawli refugee camp she struggled with education up to S.4 (Uganda Certificate of Education) but her performance was not good.
 
 "it seemed like the end of life until my step mother in Kasese connected me to RIC-NET"
 
With support from Global fund for children (GFC), RIC-NET facilitated her to train in tailoring and cloths design. As her life started changing during the training, she cohabited with someone to whom she has a child, but still bad luck struck and the would be husband died suddenly. 
This was darkness at noon.

She contacted again RIC-NET who offered her a second chance to completed training and receive the startup kit of sewing machine.

"Now this is going the change my life"  and the life of my child who  requires support. Naume could not hide her smile as she received the machine from RIC-NET  Admin officer Ms. Janet in Kasese.