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Authors

Cassandra Veney

Abstract

This article provides a brief background on the civil war in Liberia and the ongoing political violence in Uganda that have left thousands of people internally displaced, especially woman and girls. It analyzes the willing and unwilling roles of women and girls in both conflicts as combatants, wives, and rape survivors, etc. It discusses how women’s bodies became an extension of the battlefield as all participants in the conflict perpetrated gross human rights violations against women and girls in the forms of rapes, gang rapes, torture, and beatings. These violations have forced many women and girls, especially in Liberia to seek safety outside their home areas while others fled to camps for the internally displaced. The conflict in Uganda is contained within specific districts in the northern part of the country where the government has established camps. The camps often do not serve as a sanctuary as women and girls face many problems due to overcrowding, gender-based violence, lack of medical facilities, and little economic opportunities. A discussion of the internationalization of the conflict is included for fuller understanding of factors that produced or exacerbated internal displacement. In Liberia, the roles of the Economic Community of West African States’ (ECOWAS) military group (ECOMIL), along with the support provided by neighboring countries to different insurgent groups are examined. The internationalization of the conflict in Uganda is analyzed by discussing the role of the governments of the United States and Sudan and their support of Sudanese People’s Liberation Army and Lord’s Resistance Army respectively. Lastly, the article focuses on the role of women in both countries’ peace building efforts.

Note on the Author

Cassandra R. Veney is an assistant professor in the Departments of Women’s Studies and African and African American Studies at Pennsylvania State University. Her primary research focuses on forced migration in Eastern Africa, human rights in Africa, and Africa-U.S. policy.

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