SERI worked with the Housing Development Agency in the course of 2015 on a research project on securing tenure in informal settlements on customary land. It involved in-depth research in four informal settlements in four provinces and culminated in a set of recommendations for the HDA and other role players. One of the key issues identified in the research was lack of awareness about IPILRA rights (the Interim Protection of Informal Land Rights Act) among the key stakeholders.
The protection given to the land rights of women, orphans and any other vulnerable groups in Northern and Eastern Uganda is probably as good as can be found anywhere in the world. Customary land law is based on three main principles. First, everyone is entitled to land, and no-one can ever be denied land rights. A second principle is that all inherited land is family land, never individual property.
Over 80% of all land in Uganda is held under unregistered ‘customary tenure’. This means that it is private property, but the owners need no documents to prove ownership. Their claims to the land, and the boundaries of the land, are locally recognised, and this recognition is given the full protection of State law.
This paper examines the evolution and the nature of the current forms of land tenure in Masindi District and the extent to which these forms impair or facilitate positive socio-economic changes. Such an examination is vital in light of the fact that there exists no convincing empirically grounded studies on the impact of the official land policies on the relationships between forms of land tenure, social structure and agricultural production.
Northern Uganda is the scene of one of the world’s most volatile and spontaneous processes of reintegration. There are approximately 1.1 to 1.4 million people in the Acholi sub-region at the time of writing3 ; 295,000 internally-displaced persons (IDPs) remain displaced either in IDP camps or transit sites. Approximately 800,000 Acholis have already left the camps and spontaneously returned home over the last three years.
Post-conflict northern Uganda has witnessed an increase in disputes over land. This has, to a great extent, been as a result of the armed conflict and its aftermath. Beyond that, other chaotic factors embedded in various social, legal, economic, and political aspects of this society have influenced the nature, gravity, and dynamics of these disputes and the way in which Traditional Institutions and the Local Council Courts have attempted to resolve them.
In view of the lack of human resources with specific competencies in costumary land rights, within the past two decades FAO and various non-governmental organizations have developed materials and methodologies for the dissemination of the Land Law and the participatory delimitation of rural communities. Materials and methodologies were developed based on practical experience of several land projects implemented over a period of approximately 20 years.
Globally, the impacts of climate change and society’s response are significantly affecting resource tenure governance, the rights of communities and people, and their livelihoods. In turn, resource tenure and property rights issues are widely recognized as crucial in the success of many climate change-related initiatives.
The Enhancing Customary Justice Systems in the Mau Forest (Justice) Project piloted an approach for improving women’s access to customary justice, particularly related to women’s land rights, by enhancing the customary justice system in one target area. The work also resulted in a clearer understanding of the relationships between customary and statutory institutions and laws, and the development of a model to promote the integration of informal and formal justice systems.