Conciliation Resources congratulates Archbishop John Baptist Odama of Gulu as he receives the Peacemaker Prize 2012 from World Vision International. The prize, awarded for outstanding contributions to promoting peace processes, is in recognition of his dedicated efforts to work for peace in northern Uganda.
At the most recent meeting of the Regional Civil Society Task Force – a network facilitated by Conciliation Resources and composed of more than forty representatives from all four LRA-affected countries – this September the Archbishop was central to discussions on drawing up an action plan to counteract the ongoing regional violence.
His Grace was one of the group that met with the Prime Minister of Central African Republic. Together they advocated for national and regional governments to commit to measures like an amnesty framework, and effective return and reintegration policies so that more abductees are encouraged to escape from the LRA.
The declaration [from the Regional Civil Society Task Force's workshop in Bangui] spells out very clearly our aim and that we're seriously concerned about the civilian population and their protection... we look forward to its implementation
Archbishop John Baptist Odama, Gulu, Uganda
The Archbishop is a strong advocate of peaceful means to resolve conflict, including amnesty. He also promotes the welfare of children and at the height of the war in northern Uganda he took a frontline role in supporting displaced 'night commuter' children.
Although the LRA conflict has moved on from northern Uganda much work remains to achieve reconciliation and sustainable peace within the country, as well as to protect civilians in neighbouring Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, and South Sudan from the threat of LRA atrocities.
In recognising the efforts of our long-standing partner we commend the award panel's decision. Through his work with the Regional Civil Society Task Force and other initiatives Archbishop Odama continues to work tirelessly to secure peace through non-violent means.
World Vision International's prize is awarded annually ahead of the UN's Peace Day on 21 September. Archbishop Odama is the eighth recipient and the first African to be recognised through this award.