JUSTICE AND PEACE NEWS NEWSLETTER

Justice and Peace Commission
Archdiocese of Gulu

August 2008, Vol. 8, No. 5

“If you want peace, work for Justice”

CONTENT

EDITORIAL: Something should be done about the state of mental health

Archdiocese of Gulu, Sudan in cross-border peace building

Violence in resolving conflicts eroding us

Hopes and fears as IDPs leave camps

Hepatitis E death toll reaching 121 people

Preparations for the Provincial peace week underway

JPC empowers Amuru and Pader students

Catholics who support abortion should not receive communion

Acholi might be most politically active
 

EDITORIAL: Something should be done about the state of mental health

Research has revealed that northern Uganda has one of the world's highest rates of a mental illness that results from horrific experiences. We pray the survey does not end up as a mere study, but something be done about it.

This could also be the reason for many violent conflicts in the region: The land conflicts, domestic violence, shooting and killing of people by soldiers, as the one of July 2008 in Kitgum including the unnecessary anger and short temperedness of people. Some of these actions could expose the fact of highest rates of mental illness in northern Uganda.

The government of Uganda and non-governmental organizations should come up with programmes that can slowly reverse the mental state of people. That is why people these days become crazy when something that affects their lives directly is mentioned. Such issue could be land matter.

When the government mentioned the issue of Amuru land in Amuru district, people in the region have never been the same again.

They have no "sound mind." It therefore should be imagined legally that, it is out of order to take advantage of any person in a state of "unsound mind.

We should pray that a few of the legal minds put up a case of "vulnerability" of people of Amuru and the rest of the sub-region.

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Archdiocese of Gulu, Sudan in cross-border peace-building

The Archdiocese of Gulu is co-leading a "cross border community reconciliation and peace building" in conjunction with the Sudan Council of Churches. The goal of the cross border Uganda-Southern Sudan community peace building is to engage adjacent communities, most of whom have been equally affected by the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) phenomena, to promote understanding and harmonious co-existence among them. The first activity of mapping the conflict issues at these sites have just been completed by a consultant from Gulu University's Institute for Peace and Strategic Studies, Fr. Dr. William Komakec, between August 25 and September 11, 2008.

The Jusitce & Peace Council (JPC) of the Ecclesiastical Province of Gulu comprising Gulu Archdiocese, Nebbi Arua and Lira Dioceses commonly referred to as GANAL is co-leading a "cross border community reconciliation and peace building" in conjunction with the Sudan Council of Churches (SCC), as the lead agency for Sudan.

The engagement is being undertaken in a coalition whose members include Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative (ARLPI), JPC Gulu Archdiocese, Concerned Parents Association (CPA) and JPC Arua Diocese.

Meanwhile, the Sudanese coalition members include the Catholic Diocese of Torit (CDOT), Reconcile, Totto Chan Trauma Centre and JPC Archdiocese of Juba.

The project being supported by the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is being implemented with focus at the border sites namely Kaya/Oraba in Koboko, Keji Keji and Dufele in Moyo Dzaipi and Atiak in Adjumani and Amuru respectively, Lokung/Ngomoromo and Agoro/Madi Opei in Kitgum district.

The goal of the cross border Uganda- Southern Sudan community peace building is to engage adjacent communities, most of whom have been equally affected by the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) phenomena, to promote understanding and harmonious coexistence among them.

The first activity of mapping the conflict issues at these sites have just been completed by a consultant from Gulu University's Institute for Peace and Strategic Studies, Fr. Dr. William Komakec, between August 25 and September 11, 2008.

The key activities of the project include planning and monitoring meetings by the Steering Committee and the Coalition members, facilitated community dialogue between and among adjacent communities, training of community dialogue facilitators.

Others are exchange visits to deepen understanding of respective situations in northern Uganda and Southern Sudan and participating in each other's activities.

Prior to this, the collation organized its inaugural activity in Juba on June 8, 2007 with an ecumenical prayer for the delegations to the Peace Talks in Juba, which was held at All Saints Cathedral and presided over by the Sudanese Catholic and Anglican Bishops. It was attended by a team lead by JPC GANAL and the Uganda Joint Christian Council (UJCC). This collaborative initiative builds on previous efforts in cross border engagement from 2001 to date.

It is hoped that the programme will build good relationships between the  two bordering community and helps to reconcile the community.

LRA rebel activities had created enemity between the communities at the border.

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Justice and Peace Commission
Archdiocese of Gulu
Tel. 256 (0) 471-435.951