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Student Staff Update: Palmer Hurst

Thanks to 2L Palmer Hurst for the following update on his work as a Center for Global Justice student staff member.
The Land and Equity Movement of Uganda (LEMU) is a Ugandan non-profit organization dedicated to protecting community land rights through legal recognition and representation. In much of Africa, individual property rights are a foreign idea that have yet to take hold, so some Africans like LEMU have gone back to traditional communal views of property, updating them to the modern world. The idea is simple: let Africans solve their problems in uniquely African ways. Traditional clan groups, particularly in the rural north, are often exploited, marginalized, and ignored by the government. Much of Africa is still informally organized around traditional clan based structure, and LEMU’s goal is the legal recognition and protection of these community lands. LEMU works with rural communities in several ways, including legal representation and advocacy, dispute mediation, filing for title paperwork, and establishing formal community rules and property boundaries. 
Over this past summer, I was lucky enough to intern with LEMU. I spent the majority of my time in Lira, a town in the north-central region of the country. During my time there, I represented several LEMU clients in Ugandan court at both trial and appeal, visited rural communities to mediate dispute resolutions and assist clans in setting up formal rules for their lands. I also assisted LEMU in drafting and publishing academic papers, scholarly articles, and legal opinions to file with the Ugandan High Court, and helped facilitate educational seminars for Ugandan police, judges, attorneys, and legislatures to highlight the need for solid and sustainable land policy. Tensions regarding land disputes run high, and it is no exaggeration to say that LEMU’s work during my time there saved lives.
After returning to Regent, I was able to continue my work with LEMU remotely. Working from the Center for Global Justice, I have continued to support LEMU by editing and formatting documents for court submission, drafting policy briefs, and assisting with research. My largest ongoing project is completing training manuals for the LEMU staff, so that the staff can have a uniform and comprehensive approach to Uganda’s continued land rights struggle.
Center for Global Justice intern Chelsea Mack (1L) will be working with LEMU this summer, so stay tuned for additional updates on this work.

Learn more about the Center for Global Justice interns and student staff.