Uganda: ICRC activities July to September 2006
30-09-2006 Operational Update
The ICRC in Uganda focuses on supporting those displaced by conflict, visiting places of detention, promoting respect for international humanitarian law and strengthening the capacities of the Uganda Red Cross Society. An update of activities from July to September 2006.
The ICRC is continuing its humanitarian assistance programme on behalf of 140,000 households (770,000 people) in the districts of Gulu, Kitgum, Pader, Amuru and Apac displaced by the armed conflict in Northern Uganda.
The ICRC is closely monitoring the situation due to the ongoing peace talks and the continuing trend for people to return home so that the organization will be able to adapt to changing needs.
Detention visits continue to ensure that treatment and conditions conform to basic standards established in international conventions and treaties to which Uganda is a State party.
The Uganda People's Defence Forces and Uganda Police Force have made progress in the implementation of the memoranda of understanding signed with the ICRC in 2005 to include international humanitarian law (IHL) into their training and operational procedures.
The ICRC continues to provide technical and financial assistance to the Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS) and keeps up a dialogue with other humanitarian agencies to avoid duplication of services.
Improving the situation of detainees
In the period under review, the ICRC visited 13 military and civilian places of detention and exchanged more than 660 Red Cross Messages between detainees and their relatives.
The ICRC works with the Uganda Prisons Services (UPS) to find sol utions to existing structural problems. The recommendations of the joint ICRC-UPS assessment on infrastructure, water & sanitation were shared with the relevant authorities and stakeholders.
The ICRC has begun work on the drilling of 3 boreholes to provide safe drinking water to the prisons of Ibuga and Rwimi.
Blankets, mats, uniforms, water tanks, cleaning materials, eating utensils and games were delivered to Kakikka, Mbale, Kitgum, Fort Portal and Jinja prisons.
A twelve-month support programme for vegetable garden programmes in the prisons of Arua, Luzira Upper, Kigo and Gulu has been completed. These prisons should now be able to continue to grow vegetables and improve detainees'diet. Seed donations were made to several prisons.
Tracing activities on behalf of refugees
The ICRC and the URCS continued to cooperate in maintaining contact between families separated by conflict. More than 730 Red Cross Messages were collected and over 450 distributed. The main users of the service were Sudanese and Congolese refugees.
Helping the civilian population
Alleged abuses against civilians and former combatants were discussed confidentially with the relevant authorities. Meetings were held with the displaced, former abductees, camp and military authorities and traditional leaders to matters relating to alleged abuses of the civilian population.
The ICRC's e conomic security programme is aimed at improving the lives of 670,000 people in 58 camps for the displaced. It includes agricultural support, provision of essential household items and emergency assistance during the dry season that causes regular outbreaks of fire.
During the period under review, the ICRC completed the distribution of seed that started in June. More than 100,000 households (over 570,000 people) in 46 camps for the displaced benefited from vegetable and staple and cash crop seeds. An associated agricultural training course was conducted in Kitgum, Gulu and Pader districts.
Water and sanitation
The ICRC aims to provide safe water for domestic and other uses through drilling boreholes. The programme also includes the construction of pit latrines to enhance proper human waste disposal and hygiene courses.
Bacteriological water analyses were conducted on all water points in the 8 camps where the ICRC is in charge of responding in case of cholera.
The sick and wounded
The ICRC continued to support 7 hospitals and 14 health centres in 19 camps for the displaced. Medical supplies such as bandages, gloves and gauze were supplied and training was given to personnel in hospitals and health centres.
Community Resource Persons (CORPS) trained by the ICRC supported the organization in awareness raising campaigns against cholera, malaria and HIV/AIDS.
In northern Uganda, the ICRC de-wormed 60,000 children in 12 camps and carried out 29 medical transfers and evacuations from IDP camps to referral hospitals.
An ICRC hospital administrator assessed Kitgum Government hospital to develop a comprehensive hospital support strategy for 2007.
Creating a better understanding of the ICRC's mandate
Uganda People's Defence Army
In August, a total of 28 officers attended a second train the trainers course on IHL. In addition, 27 officers from the 4th and 5th divisions attended an intensive 3-day basic IHL course.
In the field, 24 sessions on IHL and the ICRC's mandate were conducted for more than 550 officers.
The ICRC distributed research and study materials to 4 UPDF training schools.
The ICRC was invited to present the issue of non-combatant evacuation at a UPDF regional command post exercise on disaster preparedness for the Ugandan, Tanzanian and Kenyan armies.
Uganda Police Force
A total of 25 officers participated in the second train the trainers course on IHL and fundamental principles of human rights applicable to law enforcement officers.
Forty officers on their way to Darfur attended an ICRC dissemination session held at Kibule Training School.
Three lecturers from two universities attended IHL training in Geneva with the aim of integrating IHL teaching in their courses.
Teams from Kampala International University, Makerere University and Uganda Christian University (UCU), Mukono, applied for the pre-selection round to the 6th regional IHL Moot Court that will take place in November. A total of 80 students from UCU attended a lecture on the ICRC's mandate and activities.
The ICRC continued to promote the draft legislation to implement the 1997 Ottawa Treaty on landmines and the 2000 Optional Protocol on child soldiers. In this regard, the ICRC met with representatives of the Ministry of Defence and Parliament.
In September, the ICRC attended as an observer at the inter-state exchange programme on small arms and light weapons.
Cooperation with the Ugandan Red Cross Society
In Pader and Kitgum districts, the ICRC presented the module " Safer Access " to a URCS workshop on emergency preparedness and disaster management.
The ICRC and the URCS tracing department prepared an updated tracing reference guide following the six-month support mission of a tracing delegate.
In September, the URCS and the ICRC were invited to participate in a joint military command post exercise of high-ranking officers from Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania to simulate a response to a large-scale disaster. The URCS provided first-aid evacu ation and medical support.
The ICRC and the URCS Deputy Secretary General met with the German Red Cross and Northern Uganda Relief Operation programme officers to discuss coordination around a German funded project in Apac.