First Refugee Consultations – Arua District, Northern Uganda
Update – Day 2
Days 2 completed the Arua Consultation and saw consultations held in Imvedi and Bidoibidi (aka Bidi-Bidi). The consultations went very well. The participants gained trust in the process and felt able to express themselves more freely. As a result, there was an outpouring of genuine emotion among participants. Committee Chairman Deng Dau described it as follows:
“On the side of discussion of today it was very emotional but with good contribution in the end the contributions were bitterly spoken out basically on Federalism, injustice, inequality, political domination, rapes, invasion by pastoralist, civil service and foreign service dominated by Dinka, no election until peace, current leadership to bring peace or leave offices, they destroyed our home, looted our properties, and etc’”
For more details: Consultations complete in Arua
Update – Day 1
On November 20th, the National Dialogue conducted consultations with over 125 refugee representatives from the Rhino and Imvepi refugee settlements. The findings from this day’s consultations were compiled by Committee member Aliandro Lotok:
According to Mr Lotok, “’The refugees had difficulty in the beginning of the day this morning, some of them did not want to attend the consultative meeting given reasons known to them, but later in the day they turned up in a big number reaching to 125 participants from different backgrounds as people with disabilities and the elderly appeared for the first time”.
By the end of the day, however, participants had clearly expressed a desire for federalism. They felt that the most pressing source of conflict is contention for land and that federalism would help solve that problem.
Fearing their safety, participants refused to be photographed or recorded.
The National Dialogue Steering Committee on Refugees and International Outreach is holding 3 days of consultations in the Arua district of Northern Uganda. Committee members, led by Hon. Deng Dau, will consult with a broad range of civic groups, was the case in Kampala. The focus in the Arua area, however, will be on refugees. There is no higher population of South Sudanese outside of the country than in Northern Uganda. Consultations will be conducted in camp areas, including settlements in Rhino, Imvepi, and Bidoibidi.