Consolidated Appeal for Uganda 2007
Recent developments in the nearly 21-year-old conflict in northern Uganda, including a consistent pattern of improved security during the latter half of 2006, have renewed the hopes of approximately 1.4 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) still in camps for an early return to their homes of origin, and have already encouraged the return of some 300,000 IDPs over the last year. The engagement of the Government of Uganda and the Lord’s Resistance Army towards a peaceful solution to the conflict illustrated by the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement of 26 August 2006 has been welcomed by civil society, by the Acholi community and their leaders, and by the international community. Although the cessation of hostilities is certainly an important step towards a negotiated solution to the conflict, the search for durable solutions is ongoing and the political-military situation remains very fragile and very fluid at the time of writing.
The humanitarian situation and the phase of displacement of the population vary so greatly across the northern and north-eastern districts of Uganda that it simultaneously requires emergency and broad protection assistance on the one hand, and return and early recovery assistance on the other. In Gulu, Amuru, Kitgum, Pader, Oyam and northern Apac, despite being the districts hardest hit by the conflict, more than 150,000 persons have moved out of overcrowded IDPs camps to start settling in areas within their parish of origin, gaining access to more land and to a more dignified life, while they wait for the sustained security that will allow them to go all the way to their homes of origin. Access to social services for this likely growing – and yet ultimately transitional – group is a challenge to be addressed as a matter of urgency. Lack of schools and health facilities in the new settlement areas is acting as a factor dividing families, as families choose to leave women and children in camps where they can access basic services. This exposes women, girls and children to increased risk of gender-based violence and abuse and exploitation. However, in the same districts, more than one million IDPs are expected to remain in camps through 2007, waiting for clearer confirmation of the end of insecurity. This group will continue to deserve emergency assistance and protective programming to decrease the morbidity and mortality rates and the incidence of human rights violations. By contrast, in Lira district, there has been a steady process of return accompanied by a progressive reduction of general food distribution in camps and by an increase of early recovery activities for approximately 200,000 returned IDPs.
In eastern Teso district, 130,000 IDPs remain in camps with little prospect of return due to continuing Karamojong-induced instability. Karamoja itself exhibits some of the most worrisome indicators, including the lowest primary school enrolment (35%), highest maternal and infant mortality (750/100,000 live births and 178/1,000 live births respectively) and the lowest life expectancy, compounded by continued insecurity and high levels of human rights violations.
The number of refugees in Uganda stands at 216,465, the majority from Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda. In 2007, 21,500 refugees may be repatriated, but overall, the refugee population is projected to remain stable.
The Health Service Availability Mapping survey in northern Uganda shows that leading causes of morbidity in the region remain malaria, respiratory tract infections, diarrhoea, intestinal worms and skin infections. The Human Immuno-deficiency Virus new infections rate is three times higher in Acholi districts than the national average, and the coverage of key health, nutrition and Human Immuno-deficiency Virus/ Acquired Immuno-Deficiency Syndrome activities remains low.
To respond to the continuing humanitarian crisis in northern and north-eastern Uganda in 2007, humanitarian and human rights partners will focus on five priority areas: ^
(1) Enhancing protection and living conditions of IDPs in camps;
(2) Supporting voluntary population movement;
(3) Supporting returned populations and community recovery;
(4) Improving protection, access to services and emergency preparedness and response in Karamoja; and
(5) Ensuring the delivery of protection for all refugees and asylum seekers.
In light of the fluidity of the present context, and in order to keep the humanitarian response focused on and equal to the evolving needs, the 2007 Consolidated Appeal and the response operations it contains will be reviewed and adapted by the Uganda Inter-Agency Standing Committee on a quarterly basis.
To complement the efforts of the Government of Uganda, humanitarian and human rights partners appeal for US$296 millionto address the emergency and transitional needs of all IDPs in all the phases of displacement; of all refugees; and of all groups in Karamoja made vulnerable by internal and cross-border conflicts.