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Constraints: The Un-Doing of the Ugandan Truth Commission

Quinn, Joanna
June 4, 2015

Source: (2004) Human Rights Quarterly. 26: 401–427

In the aftermath of a period of mass atrocity at the hands of the state, many societies struggle to find a way to repair the damage caused to the physical infrastructure in terms of things like roads, hospitals, and schools. Yet the social infrastructure is also often badly damaged. One mechanism often employed in such cases is the truth commission, which can act to foster sustainable development on many different levels, as well as social trust. When Yoweri Museveni and the NRM acceded to power in Uganda in 1986, one of their first acts was to establish the Commission of Inquiry into Violations of Human Rights to look into the abuses which had been perpetrated from 1961 until that time. The Commission, however, was endowed with neither proper funding nor political support. The social infrastructure, therefore, was left in a state of flux. This paper provides an analysis of the many constraints faced by the Commission and of its relative failure to provide a platform for improving the social infrastructure. Author’s abstract.


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