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Abstract

This article presents a summary of research intervention work carried out in war-affected Northern Uganda by Isis-WICCE, a women’s international non-government organisation, in conjunction with the Ugandan Medical Association and funded by Medica Mondiale, a German-based foundation. The findings of this research demonstrate the serious effects of sexual violence and torture experienced on women’s physical and psychological health. However, this paper also describes women’s key role in trying to bring peace to this region, as well as their resistance and survival strategies. It is recommended that funding is urgently required for the provision of sustainable, gender sensitive physical and psychological health services in this region. Women’s campaign for justice for the atrocities they have suffered should be heard by the International Criminal Court. Further recommendations are made with respect to policy changes in line with enhancing women’s roles and furthering the empowerment of these women war survivors.

Note on the Author

Helen Liebling-Kalifani is a Lecturer-Practitioner in Clinical Psychology, Coventry & Warwick Universities. She is a member of African Psycare Research Organisation (APRO) and helped establish the clinical psychology masters course at Makerere University. Together with Isis-WICCE and APRO, she has been working with war-torture survivors since 1998. Her PhD followed up their earlier work in Luwero District. She has been awarded ESRC funding, the Phil Strong Research Prize, an Applied Research Fellowship and British Academy funding to continue this work.

Ruth Ojiambo-Ochieng is the Executive Director of Isis-Women’s International Cross Cultural Exchange, Isis-WICCE, Kampala, Uganda. This is a global action oriented women’s non-government organization with the aim of promoting justice and women’s human rights. Their major areas of focus since 1996, is documenting women’s realities in armed conflict and peace situations from a human rights perspective. Isis-WICCE were awarded a prize for their outstanding achievements as an NGO from Geneva in 2005.

Angela Marshall, M.A., LLM, is a senior lecturer in the Coventry School of Law, Coventry University. She teaches at undergraduate and postgraduate level in gender and law, human rights and criminal justice. She is a qualified solicitor, and has taught across a range of legal disciplines. She has also taught in Kenya, East Africa. Her particular interest is in the human rights of women.

Juliet Were-Oguttu is the Programme Coordinator – Information and Documentation at Isis-WICCE. She coordinates the documentation and research on women’s realities in armed conflict.

Seggane Musisi is a Consultant Psychiatrist and the Head of Psychiatry at Makerere University, Uganda. He is the founding member of APRO, who carry out research and intervention work with war-torture survivors. He has published widely in this area. He was also a Fulbright New Century Scholar and a visiting researcher at Oregon Health Sciences University, Canada

Eugene Kinyanda is a Lecturer and Consultant Psychiatrist at the Medical Research Council, Entebbe. He carried out his PhD research on the topic of suicides. He is a member of APRO and has assisted with the ongoing research and intervention work with Isis-WICCE. He is currently carrying out pilot intervention projects in Northern Uganda, which involves training health workers in the psychological and medical management of war survivors utilising a manual produced by Isis-WICCE.

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