Land Theft

A Ugandan Court Defends a Grandmother and Sets a New Precedent

KAMPALA, UGANDA—

By Kathryn Wilkes

Kathryn Wilkes is the Field Office Director for IJM Kampala. She and her team have helped defend more than 1,000 widows and orphans from property grabbing. 

You may have heard Juliana’s story from us before. She is an elderly widow who was attacked with a machete—her hand was severely cut when she raised it to block the machete’s blow to her head. This attack came after months of abuse, threats, and intimidation from a distant relative, who claimed that Juliana’s land belonged to him.

Study Sheds New Light on Violence Against Ugandan Widows

New IJM research finds that nearly one of three widows in one area of Uganda is a victim of property grabbing—a devastating crime that threatens lives and livelihoods for some of the poorest and most vulnerable members of society.

Nearly 20% of these victims reported that attempts were made on their lives—and more than 30% reported threats against their children—by powerful neighbors or relatives trying to steal their homes or land.

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