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Resolving conflicts using traditional mechanismsin the Karamoja and Teso regions of Uganda.

Chapman, Chris
June 4, 2015

Source: (2009) London: Minority Rights Group International.

This study is the result of intensive research and consultations with community representatives and local and national government officials in Karamoja and Teso regions of northeast Uganda. The conclusions of the research can be summarised as
follows: The formal state mechanisms for justice and conflict resolution are not adequately implanted in the two regions. They struggle to cope with the present level of conflicts.; In some cases the state apparatus is mistrusted by local
communities due to associations with past abuses.; Traditional, community-based mechanisms for regulating conflicts and providing justice have been used in these
communities for centuries, if not millennia; These mechanisms have struggled to keep up with the increasing intensity and violence of conflicts, environmental degradation, and displacement of communities, and have suffered in particular with the marginalisation of elders as a result of small arms influxes and conflicts between the roles of community elders and the formal representatives of the state. There are also accusations that traditional mechanisms in some cases entrench elitism and paternalism.; Nevertheless, interviewees were virtually unanimous in
their opinion that these mechanisms are an essential part of conflict and justice regulation in these communities, because they are accessible where often the state is absent, and because, being based on traditional principles of spirituality and peaceful coexistence, the outcomes are respected by community members.; Furthermore, they focus on the rehabilitation of community members and the rebuilding of broken relationships within the community.; These mechanisms can work alongside and complement the formal apparatus of the state; as such the state should support them and find ways of promoting this complementarity.(excerpt)


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