Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (College of Arts and Science)

Schools and Centres

Arts & Sciences

First Supervisor

Doctor Tanya Lyons

Second Supervisor

Doctor John Rees

Third Supervisor

Doctor Cheryl Lange


Since gaining independence from Britain in 1962, Uganda has been beset by conflicts, the worst of which took place between the Ugandan government and the Lord’s Resistance Army in northern Uganda (1988-2006), causing a massive humanitarian crisis. The central argument of the thesis is that the government’s programmes in response would have been more successful if they had been people-centred, directly responsive to the suffering of the people, rather than centralised in the hands of a small Kampala-based elite, which controlled access to funding and political power, without transparency or accountability. This research uses human security as an umbrella concept to examine the interventions undertaken by actors during and after the violence. While the specific concept was not applied in northern Uganda, its core characteristic, people-centred policy making, was used, particularly by (I)NGOs. I use it here as a test against which the government’s actions in the conflict through which northern Uganda suffered, can be analysed and understood. The research focuses on the physical, emotional, psychological, structural and cultural violence committed by both the LRA and government forces during the conflict and the resulting catastrophic consequences for the people of northern Uganda. By examining the conflict in northern Uganda, the thesis contributes to a broader discussion on how a human security approach can be applied in relation to the problems people face during and after conflicts.