Displacing Human Rights: War and Intervention in Northern Uganda

ISBN : 9780199782086

Adam Branch
336 Pages
163 x 242 mm
Pub date
Nov 2011
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Today, Western intervention is a ubiquitous feature of violent conflict in Africa. Humanitarian aid agencies, community peacebuilders, microcredit promoters, children's rights activists, the World Bank, the International Criminal Court, the US military, and numerous others have involved themselves in African conflicts, all claiming to bring peace and human rights to situations where they are desperately needed. However, according to Adam Branch, Western intervention is not the solution to violence in Africa but, instead, can be a major part of the problem-often undermining human rights and even prolonging war and intensifying anti-civilian violence. Based on an extended case study of Western intervention into northern Uganda's twenty-year civil war, and drawing on Branch's own extensive research and human rights activism there, Displacing Human Rights lays bare the reductive understandings motivating Western intervention in Africa, the inadequate tools it insists on employing, its refusal to be accountable to African citizenries, and, most important, its counterproductive consequences for peace, human rights, and justice. In short, Branch demonstrates how Western interventions undermine the efforts Africans themselves are undertaking to end violence in their own communities. Displacing Human Rights does not end with critique, however. Motivated by a commitment to global justice, it proposes concrete changes for Western humanitarian, peacebuilding, and justice interventions as well as a new normative framework for re-orienting the Western approach to violent conflict in Africa around a practice of genuine solidarity.


1. Human Rights Intervention in Africa
2. The Politics of Violence in Acholiland
3. Relief Aid, Violence, and the Camp
4. Peacebuilding and Social Order
5. Ethnojustice: The Turn to Culture
6. The ICC and Human Rights Enforcement
7. AFRICOM: Militarizing Peace
8. Beyond Intervention

About the author: 

Adam Branch is Assistant Professor of Political Science at San Diego State University

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