For nearly two decades, Northern Uganda has been ravaged by conflict. Thousands of civilians have been subject to brutal attacks, rape, torture, extra-judicial execution and destruction of homes and communities. In the last several years, there has been some movement toward justice, including the opening of investigations at the International Criminal Court, but the progress has been slow and marred by continued violence.
The majority of internally displaced people in the conflict-affected northern region left the camps and returned to their homes. It was estimated that up to 65 per cent of the original displaced population returned to their villages of origin and 15 per cent went to transit sites outside camps. Most of those who returned to their villages faced lack of access to clean water, health care, schools and other essential public services. Over 400,000 displaced people remained in camps and in dire need of humanitarian assistance.
Reports indicated a continued high prevalence of gender-based violence, particularly domestic violence. Perpetrators were rarely brought to justice and women faced considerable constraints in their attempts to access justice.
In December, parliament passed a Bill specifically outlawing and providing for the punishment of the practice of female genital mutilation and measures for protecting victims. The Bill was awaiting presidential assent to become law at the end of the year. A number of bills were pending, including one that would provide a new legal framework for legal rights within and the dissolution of marriage, and another that would criminalize domestic violence.