Parenting the Missing

The ICRC recently estimated that more than 12,000 persons disappeared during the Government of Uganda – Lord’s Resistance Army conflict. Their whereabouts remain unknown to date.

The full numbers of disappeared in Uganda as a whole remain a mystery, but the relatives of the missing continue to grieve, even years after the person disappeared, unable to find closure. Cultural mechanisms for dealing with loss are themselves at a loss when confronted with the ambiguities of disappearance, and there is currently little space within Uganda’s transitional justice debates to discuss the needs and challenges of the families of the missing.

Unlike Argentina, where the mothers of the disappeared formed into the “Asociación Madres de Plaza de Mayo” (Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo), the parents, relatives and friends of the missing in Uganda have yet to organize, and thus suffer their loss in obscurity and silence.

This 15 minutes documentary is helping to break this silence: Four parents of missing persons voice what it means to them to suffer ambiguous and unclear loss. They recount their emotional hardships, their difficulties in life, and their perceptions of blame and forgiveness.

We hope that the testimonies in this short documentary will inspire the Ugandan government, CSOs, NGOs, donor countries, scholars and opinion leaders to take this issue seriously and engage with survivor populations who have missing relatives.

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