On 22nd January 2018, 3 lawyers and 3 Uganda Law Society (ULS)-trained community paralegals from Moroto District, in Karamoja were recognized with a German-French Peace and Reconciliation award in appreciation of their exemplary work in promoting peaceful communities and helping people access justice in Karamoja.
The award follows a visit by EU heads of mission to Tapac Sub-County, Moroto District on 6th December 2017 to interact with communities and understand the challenges they faced with investors in the extractives industry, such as forceful evictions, non-compensation for their land, inability to receive royalties paid by the mining companies, as well as unfair and unsafe working conditions, among others.
The communities informed the ambassadors that the ULS staff and community paralegals have continuously done an exceptional job in advising them on how to defend their land in lieu of eminent evictions especially from the mining companies; holding mediation dialogues; and referring them to where they should seek redress. Consequently, much of the land that had been grabbed and illegally fenced off by miners has been given back to the community, and 189 cases were concluded between January and November 2017.
Impressed by this work, the ambassadors decided to recognize the ULS staff and community paralegals with the award. The award ceremony was conducted at a joint cocktail hosted by the French and German embassies to mark the 55th Anniversary of the Elysee Treaty - an agreement of friendship and reconciliation between Germany and France which ended centuries of rivalry between the two countries.
Hosted at the German Ambassador's Residence in Kampala, the event was graced by other heads of mission and dignitaries from the European Union; Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden, USA and UN Women, among others.
The DGF supported the ULS to establish the Legal Aid Project Clinic in Moroto to provide comprehensive legal aid services to the indigent, vulnerable and marginalised persons in Karamoja Region. DGF congratulates the lawyers and paralegals on this achievement.