Challenges and Opportunities for Women’s Land Rights in Post-Conflict Northern Uganda


Kindi, Fredrick Immanuel. 2010. “Challenges and Opportunities for Women’s Land Rights in Post-Conflict Northern Uganda.” Working Paper 26, MICROCON-A Micro Level Analysis of Violent Conflict, Brighton.

Author: Fredrick Immanuel Kindi


Since the late 1980s to 2006, the northern region of Uganda underwent an armed conflict between the government of Uganda and the rebel group led by Joseph Kony. The conflict displaced virtually the entire population in the region, and by 1990 people were living in internally displaced peoples’ camps. As the war winds up, many people have left the camps returning to their former villages. The journey back home has not been easy, however. For women in particular, many are facing a lot of challenges especially related to access, ownership and use of land. Using data that was qualitatively gathered in two IDP camps in Gulu district, northern Uganda, the paper examines these challenges. It argues however that despite the challenges, opportunities do exist that can be exploited, if there is commitment by various stakeholders, to ensure that women access, own and use land in the return process.



“In this paper I examine the challenges of women’s land rights in the return process in the region. I also assess the effectiveness of Peace, Recovery and Development Plan in addressing these challenges in the post conflict reconstruction. I conclude by noting the opportunities that can be exploited to address some of the challenges in the post conflict reconstruction.” (3)

“In situations of high mortality of men during the war, the women who have survived have found it difficult to secure access to land that was formerly owned or jointly owned by the husbands or with other male relatives. This is because such women might be denied access to land by their in-laws or by other surviving male relatives. This phenomenon has been widely reported in countries that have experienced armed conflicts. For instance, UNHCR (2001) noted that in the aftermath of the genocide and massacres of 1994 in Rwanda, many women who became widows met stiff resistance from in-laws or male members of their own family in accessing land. While in Kenya Mwagiru (2001: 19) reported that the conflicts of 1991-1993, including one of 1997 due to general elections, had serious consequences that adversely affected social patterns, including access to land and property rights.” (5)

“As Hetz, et al (2007) argued, the time span of displacement tends often to correlate with the incidences of disputes and conflicts over access to land and land rights. In such a context, women’s chances to own and access land are thinned as most of them flee from such conflicts.” (5)

Topics: Armed Conflict, Displacement & Migration, IDPs, Refugee/IDP Camps, Gender, Women, Governance, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Non-State Armed Groups, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Uganda

Year: 2010

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