A poor woman in Uganda not only has to contend with the challenge of eking out a living in harsh conditions, but also with the threat of violence to her and her family if she attempts to stand up for her rights.
Land theft targets some of the most vulnerable women and children in the country.
Not only does land theft leave victims homeless, destitute and extremely vulnerable to other forms of abuse, it’s a violent crime. In an IJM study, nearly 1 out of 5 victims of land theft reported that the theft of their property involved a murder attempt on his or her life, and nearly 1 out of every 3 had threats of violence made against their children by perpetrators.
We are standing with widows and orphans in two of the areas hardest-hit by this crime.
We rescue women and children from violence and help Local Council leaders (the community-level representatives of the justice system), police and courts to provide support, investigate crimes, and handle cases appropriately. This can mean moving women and children into safe houses while we work to stop the threats.
Bring Criminals to Justice
We bring criminals to justice by working with police and prosecutors to take them to court. IJM attorneys build strong cases by gathering evidence that will expose the criminal's actions.
We restore survivors by providing counseling, ensuring that children can go to school, and helping women begin income-generating projects. Once families are safe, we empower them through training and by providing resources to rebuild their lives.
Strengthen Justice Systems
We strengthen justice systems by working with police, courts, land authorities and other local leaders to dramatically improve the justice system response to land theft, domestic violence and sexual violence against children so women and children are safe.
Through IJM’s support, Uganda's police force has deployed a specialized team of investigators with the resources, training and mandate to respond to land theft crimes, for the first time in its history.
In October 2017, IJM and the Chief Justice of Uganda signed a landmark Memorandum of Understanding, outlining a commitment to work together to end violence against women and children in Uganda.
We have secured convictions of more than 60 perpetrators of land theft—a powerful sign when previously perpetrators of this crime were virtually never brought to justice.