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November workshop on gender inclusive transnational justice in post-conflict African societies

EMMIR partner Mbarara University for Science & Technology (Uganda) in cooperation with The Refugee Law Project (RLP) (Uganda) and the Center for Gender Studies at the University of Rwanda (Kigali, Rwanda) bring together activists and scholars mainly from East and Southern African countries to an academic two-day workshop in Mbarara (Uganda). The topic is "Mapping Research on Gender Inclusive Transitional Justice in Post-conflict African Societies".

The workshop aims at identifying gaps in transitional justice theory and research on African contexts in order to encourage appropriate future research activities. For this reason, scholars, researchers, practitioners and activists have been invited to present papers on case studies, identify research necessities from their perspectives and/or suggest research objectives.

The workshop starts November 19 and finishes the next day, November 20, including a session where the discussion and findings of the Institute for African Transitional Justice (IATJ) on ‘Doing Inclusive Gender’ (see this link for the recent IATJ8 held from 3rd to 7th September 2018). Both the presentations during the workshop as well as the reports of the IATJ will provide a solid foundation for developing agendas for further research. To date, the participants include scholars from the entre of Gender Studies of the University of Rwanda, the African Centre for Migration and Society at the University of Witswatersrand in South Africa and grassroots organizations from both Uganda and Rwanda. 

According to Dr. Lydia Potts, EMMIR Consortium Coordinator, "the workshop brings together the gender studies expertise from Southern African and East African scholars who will exchange their perspectives. We expect controversial but productive discussions on transitional justice and gender."

Researcher at the African Centre for Migration and Society at the University of Witwatersrand, Dudu is interested in how people make meaning of precarity such as migrants’ making their lives under constant threat of xenophobic violence in Johannesburg. She is also exploring art based research methods; using music, poetry and drama, as data and to present research to wider audiences with an aim to pursue creative or art based research as a strategy for accessing indigenous ways of knowing, and developing indigenous research methodologies.

She will present the paper "Understanding the gendered dimensions of violence, memory and healing from a cultural perspective: A case study of the Gukurahundi". Using a case study of narratives by victims of Gukurahundi located in South Africa the paper explores the gendered meanings attached to the violence as well as the imperatives put forward for transition from violence. Gukurahundi violence was perpetrated by the Zimbabwean state against its own citizens, with an estimated 20,000 people killed over a period of seven years (1981-87), the majority of whom belonged to the Ndebele ethnic group. 

Helen Scanlon is a leading scholar in the post-conflict transformation in South Africa. She is the convenor of the Justice and Transformation Programme in the Department of Political Studies at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. She holds a Ph.D. in South African history from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London and has published widely on the subject of gender, peace-building and transnational justice. 

She will present the paper "Gender-Inclusive Transnational Justice in Post-conflict African Societies: Lessons from South Africa", in which she will take a critical look at attempts confront South Africa's abusive past. She will examine the nexus between gender justice and transitional justice looking back at the history and reconciliation in South Africa. 

Wendo has been teaching at the Faculty of Interdisciplinary Studies of Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) Uganda for the last 14 years. She holds a BA(Ed)Hons (University of Dar es Salaam), MA in Development (MUST) and a Postgraduate Diploma in Development Studies (MUST). She is currently doing her PhD on Social Reintegration of formerly abducted young mothers in Post Conflict Northern Uganda. Wendo will present her paper "The Significance of Traditional Instruments of Justice in Social Reintegration of Formerly Abducted Young Mothers in Post-conflict Northern Ugandan Communities".

She was a contact person for MUST for a 3-year EU-funded IMMIS-Edulink research and curriculum development project "Implementing Migration and Gender Studies in Eastern Africa" (2008-2011) that was jointly conducted by University of Oldenburg, MUST, Makerere University and Ahfad University for Women in Sudan. In 2009 she contributed to a publication of Policy Analysis on Migration for Uganda under an EU-ACP funded EDULINK project IMMIS. She coordinates EMMIR at Mbarara University.

Solomy Awiidi holds a Bachelor of Law from Uganda Christian University (UCU), a post-graduate diploma in legal practice from the Law Development Center (LDC) along with a Post Graduate diploma in International Development from Virtual University Uganda (VUU). She has over 5 years’ experience in human rights work with a focus on women and children’s rights as well as gender justice work following engagement with MenEngage Global Alliance both in Africa and at the Global Secretariat in Washington DC.

While at Refugee Law Project, Solomy is the Transitional Justice Lawyer within the Conflict, Transitional Justice and Governance Programme where she focuses on making access to justice a reality for the vulnerable in the aftermath of violations. As an advocate, she is a member of Uganda and the East African Law Society, FIDA-Uganda, the GBV Prevention Network and an alumnus of Men Engage Africa Training Initiative (MATI). She is also a Hubert H. Humphrey Fellow (2017 -2018) on the Law and Human Rights Program at American University, Washington College of Law.

Katharina Hoffmann holds a PhD in history and worked as a historian for projects on remembering the atrocities of National Socialism as well as being a lecturer in gender studies. Since 2011 she has been a member of the working group “Migration, Gender, Politics” organising and coordinating international and transdisciplinary projects. Against this backdrop, she was a team member of the art exhibition project “Kabbo ka Muwala [The Girl’s Basket] Migration and Mobility in Contemporary Art in Southern and Eastern Africa” which was presented in Zimbabwe, Uganda and Germany in 2016. Her main areas of research and teaching are memory cultures, gender and ‘transitional justice’, migration, and diversity. She worked as visiting lecturer in Sudan, Uganda and India. Currently, she is developing a study on critical gendered perspectives in transitional justice in African contexts.


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