Access to Justice for Forced Migrants /  02 August 2021 /  178 views

The Refugee Law Project of the School of Law at Makerere University, in partnership with the Irish Centre for Human Rights at the National University of Ireland – Galway, is undertaking a 3-year Irish Research Council-funded research project (2019-2022) under the title ‘Human Trafficking, Forced Migration and Gender Equality in Uganda’.

Numbering more than 1.4 million persons, Uganda’s refugee population is the largest on the African continent. Its demographic profile (60% are under eighteen, 92% are hosted in rural settlements), coupled with COVID-19 exacerbated vulnerabilities and severe impoverishment, creates a situation replete with opportunities for traffickers. And yet, key stakeholders engaged in this research project to date have acknowledged that, notwithstanding the enactment of Uganda’s Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act in 2009, TIP in situations of forced displacement remains little identified or documented, poorly understood, and correspondingly barely addressed in current investigations, prosecutions and convictions of TIP offenders in Uganda. In the absence of strong data, and the prevention and response mechanisms such an evidence base would enable, TIP is even more likely to flourish.

Moderator: Prof. Siobhán Mullally, the research project’s Principal Investigator. Professor Mullally is an Established Professor of Human Rights Law and the Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at the National University of Ireland – Galway and is currently the UN Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children.

Panellists: Dr Chris Dolan is Director of Refugee Law Project at the School of Law, Makerere University and Visiting Professor at Ulster University’s INCORE & Transitional Justice Institute. He has worked extensively with refugees, ex-combatants and IDPs, and researches, writes and teaches on gender, conflict and humanitarianism in general, and conflict-related sexual violence in particular, with a focus on male survivors and enabling disclosure. He has led Refugee Law Project’s work with refugee survivors, resulting in the first-ever support groups of male refugee survivors of conflict-related sexual violence, as well pioneering new approaches to the screening, referral, support and documentation of war-related harms, with a view to bridging current humanitarian/ accountability divisions.

Michelle Koinange is the Coordinator of Stop the Traffik Kenya, a network of civil society organisations fighting against human trafficking in Kenya and the larger Eastern Africa region. She is passionate about human rights and grateful for a career that has allowed her to advocate for them. Her journey started within the corrections service advocating for the rights of inmates and other individuals going through the criminal justice system in Kenya.

Andria Kenney has been working with mobile, marginalised, and/or crisis-affected populations for over 15 years, predominantly with the IOM though she has also held positions with NGOs such as CARE and the Red Cross, and a private research firm in Canada. Having worked in emergency operations in Rwanda, Kenya, South Sudan, Somalia, Libya, and Myanmar, Andria is familiar with displacement contexts and common humanitarian response systems. Now heading the Counter Trafficking in Emergencies team at IOM headquarters and co-leading the Global Protection Cluster’s Anti-Trafficking Task Team along with UNHCR, she draws upon years of front-line experience with affected populations including victims of trafficking and other forms violence and abuse. Having temporarily hung up her PPE and radio, she provides technical support to field operations and conducts trainings for Protection actors on identifying and responding to trafficking in persons in situations of forced displacement.

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