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Open Access Women’s Land Claims in the Acholi Region of Northern Uganda: What Can Be Learned from What Is Contested

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Women’s Land Claims in the Acholi Region of Northern Uganda: What Can Be Learned from What Is Contested

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Women are often understood to be highly marginalised in typical African customary land regimes. The research presented in this article found that in the Acholi region of northern Uganda this is not the case. The crisis of land conflict that followed the twenty-year lra insurgency and mass rural displacement has seemingly passed, notwithstanding a minimal contribution from the formal justice, law and order sector: local state actors as well as clan elders are mediating and adjudicating disputes on the basis of custom. However some social institutions, in particular traditional marriage, have been deeply affected by displacement and the consequent poverty. In this context, custom appears to be becoming more responsive to the needs of women, including those who are divorced or separated. While women’s customary land claims are often challenged, they appear to be generally respected and supported by communities and those with responsibilities for settling disputes.

Affiliations: 1: London School of Economics, London, UK, J.Hopwood@lse.ac.uk

10.1163/15718115-02203005
/content/journals/10.1163/15718115-02203005
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Women are often understood to be highly marginalised in typical African customary land regimes. The research presented in this article found that in the Acholi region of northern Uganda this is not the case. The crisis of land conflict that followed the twenty-year lra insurgency and mass rural displacement has seemingly passed, notwithstanding a minimal contribution from the formal justice, law and order sector: local state actors as well as clan elders are mediating and adjudicating disputes on the basis of custom. However some social institutions, in particular traditional marriage, have been deeply affected by displacement and the consequent poverty. In this context, custom appears to be becoming more responsive to the needs of women, including those who are divorced or separated. While women’s customary land claims are often challenged, they appear to be generally respected and supported by communities and those with responsibilities for settling disputes.

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/content/journals/10.1163/15718115-02203005
2015-07-17
2017-11-22

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