251,287 cables indexed
Reference ID: 07KAMPALA1351
Subject: NORTHERN UGANDA NOTES (AUG 11 - AUG 24, 2007)
Origin: Embassy Kampala, Uganda Classification: UNCLASSIFIED//FOUO
Created:24 Aug 2007 Released:26 Aug 2011
Tags: ASEC, CASC, EAID, MOPS, PHUM, PREF, PREL, SU, UG

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KAMPALA 001351

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT PASS TO USAID AND OFDA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM, PREF, PREL, MOPS, ASEC, CASC, EAID, UG, SU
SUBJECT: NORTHERN UGANDA NOTES (AUG 11 - AUG 24, 2007)


1. (U) Summary: The following Northern Uganda Notes provides
information on the situation on the ground and USG activities aimed
at meeting Mission's objectives in northern Uganda. These
objectives include promoting regional stability through peace and
security, good governance, access to social services, economic
growth, and humanitarian assistance. Post appreciates feedback from
consumers on the utility of this product and any gaps in information
that need to be filled. End Summary.

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PEACE AND RECONCILIATION PROCESSES
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2. (SBU) The Government of Uganda held its first in a series of
community consultations on accountability and reconciliation (Agenda
Item 3 of the Juba peace process ) in Gulu August 20 to 22. The
consultation process is national and will culminate in a Kampala
meeting to be held on September 26-27. The remaining community
meetings will be held in Adjumani, Soroti, Lira, Mbale, Masaka,
Mbarara, Masindi, and Arua. The Gulu consultation was attended by
almost three hundred representatives from all levels of local
government, civil society, traditional leaders, opinion leaders,
religious leaders, women, youth, IDP camp leadership and other
victims groups.

3. (SBU) Initial feedback reinforces suggestions to use a
combination of traditional systems and the formal legal system to
achieve accountability and reconciliation. Neither will be
satisfactory separately. There is popular support to amend Ugandan
law to include a list of crimes stipulated by the International
Criminal Court (ICC) in order to try senior LRA in a way that
satisfies the Rome Statute/ICC requirements nationally. There are
concerns that amnesty and disarmament, demobilization and
reintegration (DDR) packages for the LRA may be seen as rewarding
perpetrators, when the majority of the population in the north has
been victimized by the war. Finally, there is a strong desire for a
truth telling process that includes UPDF. Overall, the consultative
process, as a national process, is being viewed positively, and the
community appreciates the opportunity to have its voices heard.

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HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE AND ECONOMIC RECOVERY
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3. (U) USAID has designed a new program aimed at mitigating the
causes and consequences of conflict in order to promote stability,
peace and reconciliation in Uganda. The program will be entitled
Stability, Peace and Reconciliation In Northern Uganda (SPRING).
Building on earlier and ongoing Mission programming in the North,
including the Northern Uganda Peace Initiative (NUPI) and the
Community Resilience and Dialogue (CRD) program, the new program
will specifically seek to reduce current conflict, prevent the
escalation of social, economic and political tensions and strengthen
institutions for the promotion of peace and reconciliation. To
achieve this goal, SPRING will support a core set of activities in
three component areas: (1) Peace-building and reconciliation; (2)
Economic security and social inclusion and (3) Access to justice.
SPRING will implement model activities which are scaleable,
replicable, and sustainable. Activities will aim to have a lasting
impact on promoting stability and consolidating peace by combining
peace building efforts with economic opportunities that foster and
entrench peace, while also improving access to justice for
vulnerable populations.

4. (U) SPRING will support the GOU's stated priority to end the
conflict in northern Uganda peacefully and help establish the
conditions for a transition from relief to recovery and development
for the conflict-affected population in the North, as outlined in
the Peace, Recovery and Development Plan for Northern Uganda
(2007-2010) and the GOU's Poverty Eradication Action Plan (PEAP)
(2005-2008). The proposed program will be the core activity in
USAID's multi-sector effort to mitigate the causes and consequences
of violent conflict in Uganda. Under the SPRING activity, USAID will
make an award of up to USD 9,500,000 for a period of 36 months.
5. (U) Heavy rains since July in Teso Region have damaged crops and
displaced approximately 2300 to 2800 households according to
Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and UN OCHA. The affected population
includes persons displaced (IDPs) by the LRA and cattle raiders form
Karamoja. Most affected areas are Ngariam, Magoro, Kapujan, Katakwi
and Omodoi sub-counties in Katakwi District, and Abarilela, Acowa,
Obalanga and Asamuk sub-counties in Amuria District. Initial
reports that 33,000 people were displaced appear to be inflated;
however, the total affected population might be as high as 30,000.

KAMPALA 00001351 002 OF 002


The affected area is difficult to access, and roads have been cut
off by the rains. Immediate needs are supplies to prevent cholera
outbreaks, insectide treated nets to mitigate against an increase in
malaria for the most affected, and plastic sheeting. UN OCHA is
leading an interagency assessment. No external assistance has been
requested at this time. Rains are expected to continue until late
September.
6. (U) IDP returns continue at a slow pace in Acholi sub-region, but
the pace is expected to increase significantly in November to
December when grass is widely available for thatching roofs
(SEPTEL). The increase in returns is expected with or without a
final peace agreement. However, it is likely that across Acholiland
many IDPs will keep some presence in the camps to access services,
and as a back-up plan should fighting resume. Limited access to
basic services in return areas will continue to be a contributing
factor to the splitting of families. Faced with tough decisions,
many families choose to leave school aged children in camps with
relatives to attend classes while they start to rebuild and wait for
the village school to re-open.
7. (U) Congresswoman Nita Lowey, six other members of congress and
five congressional staffers visited Gulu on Sunday, August 19
accompanied by Ambassador Steve Browning. The CODEL observed NGO
and USAID projects at the Umyama IDP Camp, received a briefing at
the World Food Program warehouse in Gulu, discussed current
humanitarian relief programs at a working lunch with NGO partners,
and met with local government officials and religious leaders.
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SECURITY UPDATE
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8. (SBU) August 15 to 17 Senior Advisor on Conflict Resolution,
Timothy Shortley, traveled to northern Uganda to meet with local
leaders and affected populations. The primary objectives of the
trip were to discuss the peace process in Juba, including community
consultations on agenda item three; how the US can help ensure a
successful conclusion to the peace process, and a dignified return
of the displaced population (IDPs); and support reconciliation and
recovery. The Senior Advisor met with IDPs and returnees in
Omiyanima sub-county, Kitgum District, district officials in Gulu
and Kitgum, NGOs, UN agencies, members of the Acholi Religious
Leaders Peace Initiative, and the European Commission Humanitarian
Office (ECHO). The visit was well received. There is positive
momentum around the peace process and IDP returns; however, gaps
remain in recovery assistance that if unaddressed could hamper slow
the process of recovery.

9. (U) No security threats in LRA areas. Little activity along the
eastern boarder with Karamoja, raids are usually low during the
rainy season.

10. (SBU) Deputy Chief of Police Otim and State Prosecutor Martin
agreed to implement roll call training for constables with the
assistance of a prosecutor providing legal updates. This new
process will improve skills and knowledge and allow constables to
perform at a higher level in serving the public.

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IN THE MEDIA AND THE WEB
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11. (U) On August 10 Ambassador Browning met with Ben Keesey, CEO of
Invisible Children, Inc., and other representatives from the
non-profit organization. IC used the meeting to update the
Ambassador on their activities and to describe their efforts to
provide to their audiences timely information on conditions in
northern Uganda. IC representatives visiting U.S. college campuses,
for example, are instructed to update audiences on the current night
commuter statistics. The Invisible Children website's "News and
Press" Section runs the State Department's August 16 statement in
support of the Juba peace talks. The website also reprints a letter
from A/S Bergner to Senator Feingold, describing the appointment of
Timothy Shortley as Senior Advisor Conflict in Africa. The website,
updated on August 17, editorializes that "this is (sic) most
significant visible progress in U.S. policy toward the crisis in a
long time, and a direct result in (sic) the efforts of IC and our
partners in Washington, D.C."
BROWNING