Tag: ‘Uganda’



New Opinion Piece: “Lessons for Uganda from Post-Genocide Rwanda”

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

The Uganda-based Justice and Reconciliation Project (JRP) has recently launched its third issue of Voices Magazine to promote local perspectives on “the Right to Know” – its recent campaign to “draw attention to the significance of truth-seeking and missing persons in the transitional justice discourse in Uganda” (Ojok, 4). Throughout the volume, truth-telling is highlighted as a key means of promoting social reconstruction in the region. However, what form or forms should this truth-telling process take?

As a partial response to this question, I was asked by JRP to contribute a brief opinion piece on the various lessons that can be gleaned from international and domestic efforts to locate and commemorate the missing victims of the 1994 Rwandan genocide and related mass atrocities. I argue that for many survivors, some form of identification will be necessary in order to allow them to accept the deaths of their missing loved ones. Forensic investigations may be a suitable possibility, but caution is necessary. Collaboration with survivor communities should be encouraged in order to ensure that theĀ  investigations are culturally and politically appropriate and do not inadvertently contribute to the deepening of divisions among Ugandans. And in choosing appropriate vehicles for commemoration, a similar strategy should be employed. While nationalized commemoration is often perceived to be an essential and beneficial part of the transitional justice toolkit, its positive potential can only be realized if the surrounding communities support the form and function of the resulting commemorative sites and events. And of greatest importance, such initiatives will undoubtedly require genuine political support at theĀ  international and domestic levels.

 

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