Ugandan Activist Recognized with Franco-German Peace Award

Nobel Peace Prize nominee of 2015 and human rights activist Victor Ochen has been awarded a Peace and Reconciliation award by the German and French embassies in Uganda.

He was recognized for his remarkable role in advocating for the restoration of peace in Northern Uganda after decades of a civil war that left many dead.

Ochen, drug 35 was handed the award on Sunday by the French Ambassador to Uganda H.E Stephanie Rivoal and H.E Peter Blomeyer, physician the German envoy to Uganda.

This was during a ceremony to commemorate 54 years since Franco-German Friendship Treaty was signed bringing an end to decades of bitter enmity between the two European countries.

H.E Rivoal said the newly established award is a symbol of friendship between France and Germany.

“We know the pain of losing someone in war because we have been there. But there’s something more important – our common humanist values, about it ” Ambassador Rivoal said.

“Uganda has also experienced war. The peace process will take time, but it will succeed.”

The German envoy hailed Ochen who spent his childhood in an IDP camp for advocating for reconciliation and offering medical and psyco-social support to young people through his Africa Youth Initiative Network.

While accepting the award, Ochen noted; “I am humbled to receive this award. Recognitions like these stand to prove the worth of our choices.”

“I grew up in a community that believed that war was the only pathway to power. This is the history I knew.”

Ochen said that over 10,000 victims of the LRA war have been rehabilitated and received assistance through the various initiatives started in northern Uganda shortly after the conflict.

“We still are faced with a problem of justice and reconciliation. We cannot normalize suffering. People don’t have to live in IDP camps for 20 years before they can have dignified lives,” he said.

He challenged government to promote reconciliation with the urgency it deserves and urged young people to use constitutional means to settle their differences.

Ochen also used his acceptance speech to highlight the global immigration crisis in which hundreds of Africans that have lost their lives at sea (Mediterenean) trying to flee war.

During Sunday’s celebrations, the two embassies also hailed civil society organizations for their significant efforts in restoring peaceful coexistence in northern Uganda.


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