When the War Ends: A Population-Based Survey on Attitudes about Peace, Justice, and Social Reconstruction in Northern Uganda
Twenty-one years of war, destruction, and the displacement of over 1.5 million people have turned northern Ugandan into a humanitarian disaster. One of the war’s principal perpetrators has been the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). A significant shift in the war occurred in late 2005 when the LRA withdrew its forces to the southern Sudan and then crossed the Nile, assembling in Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In the summer of 2006, peace talks between the Government of Uganda and the LRA commenced in Juba, and a first Cessation of Hostilities Agreement was signed on 26 August 2006. With the withdrawal of the LRA to the Congo, security in northern Uganda has improved considerably. Some displacement-camp residents have moved to new settlement sites closer to their villages. Yet others fear leaving the relative safety of the camps until a final peace agreement has been signed and the LRA fighters have been demobilized. This is a delicate stage of the conflict, and a deeper understanding of the needs and desires of affected populations will be crucial to a long-term resolution.
This report presents the findings of a population-based study conducted by the Human Rights Center, University of California Berkeley, Payson Center for International Development, Tulane University, and the International Center for Transitional Justice. The research was based on a cross-sectional survey of 2,875 individuals, supplemented by in-depth qualitative interviews, in eight districts of northern Uganda most affected by the conflict from April to June 2007. The study capture attitudes about peace, justice, and social reconstruction while peace talks were taking place between the Ugandan government and the LRA in Juba, south Sudan.