United Religions Initiative (URI) Great Lakes

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URI Great Lakes is a grassroots interfaith organisation promoting interfaith cooperation to end religiously motivated violence in Uganda.
Last updated: December 2012

United Religions Initiative (URI) Great Lakes is a grassroots interfaith organisation registered in Uganda, as an affiliate of the global URI based in the USA. Its main purpose is to promote interfaith cooperation and dialogue, to end religiously motivated violence, and to create a culture of peace, justice and healing. It also works on women's initiatives and human rights.

URI Great lakes, in partnership with the Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative, has engaged Members of Parliament from Lango and Acholi to address land issues and to ensure that local interests are taken into account. The organisation's mediation and intervention with religious leaders and cultural leaders has helped ensured respect for all voices.

URI Great Lakes was also instrumental in bringing together police and young people during the 2010 presidential elections. It provided a safe space for young people and security personnel to discuss their grievances and perceptions of unfairness in the electoral process, in an open atmosphere mediated by the religious and cultural leaders. As a result many youth vigilante groups were disbanded.

Great Lakes was among the first to pursure a coherent anti-terrorism strategy. It conducted a baseline survey and also involved security groups in its information seminar on terrorism and different public dialogues.

URI has also conducted an exchange programme between its community conflict mediators and colleagues from Southern Thailand, in order to share information and learning on how to handle conflicts based on identity, poor governance and religious extremism. The exchange included Muslim, Buddhist and Christian leaders as well as many other participants. Learning experiences focused on how compensation for war victims was handled in Thailand compared with non-restitution issues in northern Uganda, and the impact and role of religion and culture on promoting peace and reducing conflict.

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