A group of six paralegals and lawyers working under the Legal Aid Clinic of the Uganda Law Society (ULS) have been recognized by the embassies of France and Germany in Uganda for their contribution towards peaceful conflict resolution in Karamoja, northern Uganda.
The team of young legal workers received the Peace and Reconciliation Award during the celebrations to mark 55 years since the signing of the Élysée Treaty by President Charles de Gaulle and Chancellor Konrad Adenauer in 1963.
The landmark treaty sealed reconciliation between France and Germany for the benefit of a long and lasting era of peace and friendship between the two countries.
To commemorate the 55th anniversary of this historic event, the French Ambassador to Uganda, Stéphanie Rivoal and the German Ambassador, Dr. Albrecht Conze initiated an Award to encourage reconciliation and fruitful cooperation in Uganda.
The six people that recieved the Awards were three professional lawyers; Bruna Acam Patricia, Acom Patricia and Opolot Zadok as well as three paralegals; Siama Kulsum, Sagal Joseph and Ojamuge George.
They are part of a total of 150 paralegals from the Karamoja subregion trained by ULS to offer free legal advice to the marginalized and vulnerable who can’t afford such services, settle disputes, provide free legal representation and sensitize communities on their rights.
Under the program funded by the Democratic Governance Facility (DGF), over 3,000 people have received pro bono (free) services, while some 5,000 people have been educated on legal matters.
Speaking to the press at the sidelines of the event, Ambassador Rivoal said; “It’s not just about France and German. This is about two parties reconciling and deciding to end any sort of conflict and wars”.
“In order to not only celebrate ourselves, we thought to create a Peace and Reconciliation Award. We identified Ugandans who are working everyday to end conflicts. And tonight it is the Uganda Law Society who are solving conflict in Karamoja,” she said.
The awarding ceremony was held on Monday at a cocktail reception hosted at the German Ambassador’s Residence in Kololo.
One of the awardees, Acam Patricia who works with the Legal Aid Clinic in Moroto district told SoftPower News that; “In the work that we do, we endeavor to enable every single person access justice. We settle matters amicably without fighting or anything like that”.
She said that the recognition was a motivation to the team to do more in the service they deliver to indigent communities.
“I am humbled. It is one thing to have passion but it is another to be recognized for the work you are doing. It gives you the zeal to do more knowing there are those that see the good work you are doing,” Acam said.
The event brought together diplomats, government officials, lawyers and activists. Also in attendance was Minister of Tourism, Prof Ephraim Kamuntu, State Mimister of Foreign Affairs, Henry Okello Oryem, US Ambassador, Deborah Malac among others.