Background

Northern Uganda has been ravaged by two decades of civil war between the Ugandan government and LRA rebels under Joseph Kony (1986 – 2006). Shockingly brutal tactics – especially the abduction of tens of thousands of child soldiers by the notorious LRA rebels – drew condemnation around the world. Massacres and other atrocities were mainly perpetrated against civilians belonging to the tribe of the Acholi. The armed conflict forcefully displaced almost 2 million Acholis into camps.

In the post-conflict era, land has become the main conflict driver in the Acholi sub-region. The encampment during the war created opportunities for illegal land sales. Speculations of oil deposits and other resources have fuelled conflicts in the context of large-scale investment. Competition over land is further triggered by a rapid population growth. Uganda has the second youngest population in the world with 78% below 30 years old. Today, the Acholi sub-region is the poorest part of the country with an income poverty rate of more than 67%.


Justice and Peace Department of the Catholic Church was started in 1979 but finally established in 1986 in Uganda as a response to the call made by Pope Paul IV in his encyclical on development of people (Dated March 1967). In 1996, Justice and Peace Department Gulu Archdiocese was started as committees in Kitgum and Gulu vicariates. In the year 2000, the two committees were merged to form Commission which was later renamed Department in 2017.

We started working in 2001, at the peak of the insurgency waged by rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). At its peak, around two million people in large areas in Northern Uganda have been forcefully displaced. Located in Gulu City, the epicentre of the violence, the Archdiocese of Gulu was among the loudest voices calling for the cessation of hostilities, the protection of civilians and the respect for human rights. During the active conflict, we supported communities and informed about the situation in the region, which was almost cut off from the outside word.
After the civil war, JPD Gulu continued to be one of the major organizations to document and report human rights violations across Northern Uganda.

His Grace Dr. John Baptist Odama, oversees and supports our work.

Vision:

A just and peaceful society where human rights and dignity for all are respected and upheld.

Mission:

To contribute to building a society where people understand, live by, protect and promote the core values of human life and dignity and provide special care for the empowerment of the vulnerable.

Mandates:

JPD faithful to the mission of Christ her founder, the church has always been involved in Justice and Peace work in:
a. Peace building
b. Human rights and good governance
c. Research, documentation and advocacy

Core Values:

The activities of JPC Gulu are guided by the fundamental Christian values such as love, dignity, care and support (Catholic Social Teaching). The social teachings of the church including but not limited to love, nondiscrimination, humanity, peace, Non Violence, justice, inclusiveness, equality, dedication, honesty, transparency, truthfulness, openness, and fairness.

Where We Work

The geographical area in which we work – the area of Gulu Archdiocese – consists of of 29 Catholic Parishes and covers all 8 districts of the Acholi sub-region in Northern Uganda (Amuru, Gulu, Nwoya, Lamwo, Kitgum, Omoro, Agago & Pader). It encompasses around 28,500 km2 with a population estimated at 600,000 people.

Many people living in the rural Acholiland relies on having a piece of land to make a living. Land in not only a crucial element of livelihood, income and food security. It is also an important part of Acholi heritage and identity with significant cultural value. Over 90% of the land in the Acholi sub-region is communally owned and managed under customary tenure.

Our approach

JPD Gulu promotes a culture of conflict resolution that upholds the principles of restorative justice and reconciliation within the realm of the Catholic Social Teaching and the core values of Christianity.

Guided by a deep commitment to human rights, equality, social justice and non-violence, our work targets the most vulnerable and marginalized people living in the post-conflict society of Northern Uganda. We strongly believe in the power of collective action, cooperation and solidarity and we value the diversity of the people around us.

We have close links to grassroot communities across the entire area of the Archdiocese based on strong decentralized networks within our Catholic Parishes. At the same time, we are able to mobilise high-level advocacy channeled through the religious leaders of Northern Uganda.


Number of staff: 8 (5 male and 3 female)