On 2 October 2018 the Chair hosted a public lecture on the Magee Campus by Dr Chris Dolan, Honorary Professor at Ulster University and Director of the Refugee Law Project. The lecture was entitled “Spheres of Harm: An Exploration of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence against Men”. The lecture focused on conflict-related sexual violence against men, and highlighted some of the major practical, conceptual and disciplinary challenges to dominant models for addressing sexual violence. Dr Dolan proposed an alternative approach to thinking about sexual violence in conflict which has a major impact on enhancing progressive models of gender justice.
Professor Hamber with partners Fambul Tok (Sierra Leone), Catalyst for Peace (US), Refugee Law Project (Uganda), Green String Network (Kenya), and the Research and Advocacy Unit and African University (Zimbabwe) secured a seed grant to develop a Global Challenges Research Fund project to bring together partners to consider: “What are the internal-external framework and relationships that genuinely, in practice, support the creation of resilient communities facing ongoing and dynamic peace and development challenges, and how can communities, local organisations and international donors help to grow these?”. A large inter-country meeting took place in Freetown in 22-26 January 2018. A range of new initiatives will now flow from the meeting including joint research and proposals.
In December 2017 Professor Erin Baines, Associate Professor at the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs (SPPGA) at the University of British Columbia, visited Belfast to explore ongoing partnerships and also engage with Ulster University MSc, LLM and PhD students. Professor Baines offered two classes on focusing on her work in Uganda entitled “Children & Futurities” and a second research focused workshop entitled “De-colonial approaches to research on violence”. Wider than this Profess Hamber and Professor Baines outlined some future plans for joint co-operation and research.
In Mid-May 2017 Professor Hamber visited Uganda again as part of the Summer Institute focusing on “Men’s and Women’s Relations in Coercive Settings” (17-19 May 2017) hosted by the Refugee Law Project (RLP) and in War Partnership (CSiW). As part of the event Professor Hamber participated in a 2-day long workshops run by RLP and partners with men who were former combatants/abducted during the Northern Uganda war to learn from their experiences. The second part of the event was a more open conference focusing on women’s and men’s experiences of forced relationships in wartime.
In May the Chair travelled to Uganda. The trip was aimed at continuing to forge links with the Refugee Law Project and specially to participate in The Institute for African Transitional Justice (IATJ) an annual event established in 2010, by the Refugee Law Project (RLP) with financial support by the Democratic Governance Facility (DGF).
The event brings together transitional justice experts from across the African continent and beyond, to develop timely, topical and context-appropriate African Transitional Justice theory and practice. The event brought together a total of 71 participants, from ten different countries across the globe including Spain, England, Northern Ireland, Kenya, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, Germany, United States of America and host country Uganda.
Professor Hamber gave the keynote address to the conference which focused on theme “Too little too late – or too much too soon?- The Time and Timing of Transitional Justice”. The 6th IATJ was held in Gulu from 29th May to 03rd June 2016.
The event provided an important opportunity to better understand the long-term aftermath of the war that ostensibly ended in 2008.
On visiting some local communities in Northern Uganda it was clear that the issue of dealing with the disappeared, memories of the conflict and displacement, the consequences of physical and community destruction of resources, ongoing distrust of the current government to support local communities, and inter-community trust remain key issues.
Most impressive was the local mourning rituals that have been developed around dealing with the disappeared, work with male victims of sexual violence and also the Refugee Law Projects work in the new The National Memory and Peace Documentation Centre (NMPDC).
The Chair aims to continue to work with groups and individuals in developing work in Uganda in the coming years.