The Catholic Justice and Peace Commission was founded in Uganda by the Episcopal Conference in 1979, but was officially established in 1986. Like other Catholic Justice and Peace Commissions around the world, it was established in Uganda in response to an appeal made in 1969 by Pope Paul VI to all Episcopal Conferences to take concrete action towards people’s development by establishing Justice and Peace Commission in every Catholic Diocese in the entire world.
The overall aim of this commission was to promote development of a just and peaceful Ugandan society. The main objectives of the Commission are:
- Promote the formation of social conscience and awareness around the challenges involved in working for justice and peace in communities within Kabale Diocese and Uganda in general based on Holy Scriptures, Catholic Social Teaching and Societal needs.
- Collect information on specific acts of injustice and violation of human rights in Uganda and submit the findings to the Bishops and other interested stakeholders like Uganda Human Rights Commission, inspectorate of Government and Police.
- Empower Christians in Kabale Diocese to take up the responsibility of promoting justice and peace at the level of the small Christian community (akataagi), hiika, centre, parish, deanery, district and Diocesan level.
- Empower people with knowledge and skills so that they are able to challenge and stand against all forms of social evils in the Diocese and country.
- To prevent conflicts from developing into wars and violence by promoting peaceful resolutions and management of conflicts.
- To network and collaborate with others like mind partners in promotion of peace, human rights, good governance and democracy in Uganda, Africa and the entire world.
The Justice and Peace Commission was instituted in Kabale Diocese in order to implement the above mentioned objectives for the wellbeing of the people. The commission aims at protecting and promoting the values of justice and peace, human rights and dignity, good governance, democracy, reconciliation and solidarity of God’s people in both church and state when these values are grossly ignored or undermined. The commission which has its members in the six districts that make up Kabale Diocese prepare programs for the parishes according to their priorities, bearing in mind key thematic areas which are identified at the Diocesan level.
The Justice and Peace Commission has played its role by participating in civic and voter education, election monitoring, programs of radio shows on gospel preaching, domestic violence, gender based violence, peaceful resolutions and conflict management by settling cases out of court between the conflicting parties, counselling and reconciling people and couples who seek assistance in the office of Justice and Peace especially when their human rights are violated.
In response to the Decree on Ecumenism and Decree on Relationship with other Religions, the Uganda Episcopal Conference has established two fully fledged departments for Ecumenism and Inter-Religious Dialogue and peace among the people of different religions in Uganda. The Catholic Church is an active member of the Uganda Joint Christian Council (UJCC) whose purpose is to promote co-existence and collaboration among the Christians in Uganda. Kabale Diocese is also an active member of UJCC and Inter-Religious Dialogue and the office of Justice and Peace Commission is also in charge of matters which concern the Ecumenical Joint Action Committee (EJAC) which is an extended arm of UJCC at the district level and level of greater Kigezi.
The Director of Justice and Peace Commission in the Diocese is Rev. Fr. Balthazar Ndyomugabe with Mr. Peter Buregyeya as the Organizing Secretary.