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Uganda

    October 16, 2017
    Refugee Camp in Uganda

    Moses Moini had such hope for his home and family in South Sudan.  In 2011 South Sudan gained its independence from Sudan, following years of conflict.  Resources began to pour into the country.  Moses was so pleased that he could help his mother build the best home she had ever had in their village in Kajo Kaji Country in Central Equatoria State. He believed she could live the rest of her life in comfort aided by the money he sent from Canada.  She would never need to flee again.  She was safe.

    Sadly the hope was short lived, by 2013 fighting had broken out between members of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) loyal to President Salva Kiir and those loyal to the then Vice-President Riek Machar.  The conflict took on an increasingly ethnic dimension, with the leaders of the two main opposing factions belonging to the two largest ethnic groups - President Kiir, a Dinka, and former Vice-President Machar, a Nuer.  They each drew much of their support from members of their own ethnic groups.  A peace deal, signed in August 2015 by President Kiir and Machar, which reinstated Machar as Vice-President, was never fully implemented and eventually collapsed in July 2016.

    September 27, 2017

    The Ugandan authorities must stop threatening to close media outlets simply for doing their job, said Amnesty International today after the country’s media regulator vowed to close down media houses for broadcasting live.

    The threats come the day after a brawl between MPs in Uganda’s parliament was broadcast live by media outlets in the country.

    “It is unacceptable that Uganda’s media regulator is threatening to close down media houses simply for doing their job and broadcasting live news events. Ugandans have a right to know what their elected representatives are doing, a right the authorities must facilitate rather than hinder,” said Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    “These threats, harassment and intimidation are an attempt to gag the media, and have no place in any society that respects human rights. The media must be left alone to independently inform and educate the public, including on the ongoing debates about the proposed constitutional amendment.”

    September 21, 2017

    The Ugandan authorities must end their absurd attempts to silence people opposed to scrapping the presidential age limit, said Amnesty International today, as a motion on the controversial proposal was brought to parliament.

    Earlier today the mayor of the country’s capital, Kampala, was arrested by the police and bundled into a pick-up truck outside his home on suspicion that he was headed to a protest against the proposed change.

    Some opposition MPs were blocked from accessing parliament to participate in the debate, which has now been postponed. Demonstrations against the change were also banned.

    “It is ironic and absurd that as the bill is tabled in parliament, the government is blocking citizens from debating the issue,” said Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    “All Ugandans must be allowed to freely express their views for or against issues of national importance to them. The actions the government is taking in this case amount to criminalizing dissent and contravene both Ugandan and international law.”

    August 17, 2017
      The international community must deliver and improve on existing financial commitments to help Uganda support the refugees it is hosting, following a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) announcement that one million South Sudanese refugees are now in the country, Amnesty International said today.   Driven by the ongoing violence in South Sudan, refugees have been entering Uganda in their thousands, especially since the spread of the conflict to formerly peaceful areas after July 2016. Amnesty International has documented evidence of unlawful killings, sexual violence, detention, torture, the purposeful destruction of private and public property, the use of food as a weapon of war and other serious human rights violations in South Sudan; all of which have been drivers of forced displacement into neighboring Uganda.  
    August 16, 2017
    © REUTERS/Adriane Ohanesian/Alamy

    Uganda hosts over 900,000 refugees from South Sudan who are fleeing serious human rights abuses including targeted killings, torture, and sexual violence, including rape.

    Uganda has remained welcoming and generous to refugees at a time when many countries are closing their borders. But Uganda is under incredible strain as funds dry up and thousands continue to cross from South Sudan every day. The international community is failing to support Uganda. Basic needs, including access to food, water, sanitation, health care and shelter are not being met.

     

    SHOW SOLIDARITY WITH REFUGEES Send a solidarity message to South Sudanese refugees in Uganda:

    Create your message on a placard or banner. For example, “I wish you a future where your hopes and dreams are fulfilled.” Translations in some of the languages spoken by South Sudanese refugees in Uganda: 

    July 25, 2017
    Dr Stella Nyanzi

    Photo Credit: GAEL GRILHOT/AFP/Getty Images

    Download PDF of most recent update to UA 89/17 Uganda

    89b Uganda.pdf 89b Uganda.pdf

     

    Please see below a thank you message received from Stella Nyanzi:

    “It is almost three months since my release on bail from Luzira Women's Prison. It is also the end of my self-imposed retreat in which I was reflecting about the new circumstances of my life as a marked government critique.

    July 21, 2017
      Responding to the Ugandan police’s announcement that they have arrested 56 people for allegedly holding illegal meetings under the deeply-flawed Public Order Management Act (POMA), Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, said:   “The Ugandan police are no strangers to making arrests in utter disregard for constitutionally-guaranteed rights, but this most recent case is patently absurd. These 56 individuals are guilty of nothing more than attending a peaceful meeting. They should be released immediately and unconditionally.   “The Public Order Management Act is deeply flawed and has previously been used by the police to crack down on the opposition and civil society. This latest mass arrest is no exception.”  
    May 10, 2017

    Responding to news that outspoken feminist academic Stella Nyanzi has been released on bail after four weeks in prison, Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, said:

    “It is a great relief that Stella Nyanzi is no longer behind bars, as she should never have been arrested in the first place. The government’s attempt to prosecute her for speaking out for the rights of Uganda’s women and girls, is an affront to freedom of expression.

    “The authorities must now let common sense prevail by immediately and unconditionally dropping all the charges against her. The continuation of this farcical case blatantly violates Uganda’s constitution, and its regional and international human rights obligations.”

    Background

    Nyanzi appeared in court in the capital Kampala this morning looking in need of medical care.

    The charges against her under the Computer Misuse Act of 2011 are based on her social media statements, including one where she referred to President Yoweri Museveni as “a pair of buttocks”. She denies any wrongdoing.

    March 10, 2017

    In response to today’s court ruling finding Joram Mwesigye, a senior Ugandan police officer, guilty of assaulting journalist Andrew Lwanga in January 2015, Abdullahi Halakhe, Amnesty International’s East Africa Researcher, said:

    “Today’s ruling is a rare victory for freedom of the press in Uganda. It sends a clear message that attacks on journalists must never be accepted or tolerated under any circumstances. It will hopefully assure people working in the media that the courts are watching; willing and ready to uphold their rights.

    “Press freedom has become increasingly restricted in Uganda with numerous attacks on media outlets seen as critical of the government in the past year. Today’s court decision offers a chink of light in an otherwise bleak outlook and demonstrates that the judiciary is prepared to defend freedom of expression.”

    Background

    August 08, 2016

    Reacting to threats by Uganda’s Minister of Ethics and Integrity Simon Lokodo that he will suppress the activities of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) rights activists and “rehabilitate” LGBTI people, Amnesty International said:

    “The minister’s remarks coming only a few days after police assaulted peaceful attendees at a private LGBTI Pride event in Kampala are hugely irresponsible and are tantamount to advocacy of hatred and incitement to discrimination,” said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    “The Ugandan government should be working to bring to account those responsible for the criminal attack that left one person hospitalised with serious injuries, and dozens more injured, instead of condoning these attacks and inciting further hostility against LGBTI people.”

    Background

    In his remarks today in Kampala, Lokodo publicly backed the police raid on 4 August on a nightclub last Thursday in which LGBTI people were beaten and undressed.

    July 15, 2016

    In response to the Ugandan police beating hundreds of supporters of the opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party in the capital Kampala, Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, said:

    “Amnesty International is appalled by the deliberate and senseless beating of unarmed opposition supporters, the latest episode in the now all too familiar and systematic pattern of police brutality in Uganda. The beating of people gathering peacefully is cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment under international law, which Uganda must respect. In severe cases it may even amount to torture.”

    “The relevant authorities must immediately order an independent, impartial, efficient and transparent investigation into these incidents. Where sufficient, admissible evidence points to responsibility of individuals, including command responsibility, such persons must be prosecuted in fair trials.”

    The Inspector General of Police, Kale Kayihura, was quoted in the Ugandan press today as saying the beatings were justified “because when you are beaten, you don’t die.”

    May 12, 2016

    Uganda must immediately arrest Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir and hand him over to the International Criminal Court (ICC), said Amnesty International today. Omar Al-Bashir, who is on the court’s wanted list, arrived in Kampala this morning to attend the inauguration of President Yoweri Museveni.

    “Uganda must face up to its international obligations and arrest Omar Al-Bashir who is wanted on charges of genocide,” said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    “As a signatory to the Rome Statute, Uganda has an absolute obligation to surrender him to the ICC. Failure to do so would be a breach of its duty and would be a cruel betrayal of the hundreds of thousands of people killed and displaced during the Darfur conflict.”

    The situation in Darfur, Sudan, was referred to the ICC in 2005 by the UN Security Council. Arrest warrants against President Al-Bashir have been outstanding since 2009 on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Darfur from 2003 to 2008.

    May 11, 2016

    The Ugandan authorities must halt the shameful assault on human rights that has cast a stain on the country’s electoral and post-electoral period, said Amnesty International today, on the eve of President Yoweri Museveni inauguration for a fifth five-year term.

    “President Museveni’s inauguration comes amidst a crackdown on the rights to the freedoms of expression, association and assembly,” said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    “The arbitrary detention of political opposition leaders and their supporters, the recent ban on live media coverage of opposition activities and the violent disruption of peaceful opposition gatherings in the lead up to and since election day not only violate Uganda’s own Constitution, but also fly in the face of its regional and international human rights obligations.”

    Read more:

    Uganda: Violations against opposition party impeding its efforts to contest election outcome (26 February 2016)

    May 05, 2016

    Responding to Uganda’s Minister of Information and National Guidance, Maj-Gen Jim Muhwezi’s ban on live broadcast media coverage of the opposition Forum for Democratic Change’s activities, Amnesty International issued the following quote.

    “The Ugandan government’s decision to ban live broadcast coverage of the opposition Forum for Democratic Change’s activities, although manifestly unlawful, fits the now depressingly familiar pattern of restricting freedom of expression in a bid to muzzle opposition voices,” said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    “The ban announced by Minister Muhwezi aims to restrict completely lawful activities and this is unacceptable. It has no basis in Ugandan law, and is in blatant violation of the myriad regional and international human rights standards to which Uganda is bound.”

    For further information contact 

    Aden Seaton or Sarah French 613-744-7667 ext 263

    February 26, 2016

    The Ugandan government is continuing to violate the human rights of leaders of the opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) and undermining the ability of their party to legally challenge the results of the 18 February elections, said Amnesty International in a statement, as the 10-day deadline for filing presidential election petitions looms.

    Security forces have repeatedly arrested the aggrieved presidential candidate Dr Kizza Besigye, and some of his party leadership colleagues and supporters. They have also besieged his home, and raided the party’s main office in the capital Kampala.

    “The FDC has a legal right to challenge the election results and it must be allowed to do so,” said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    “It is unacceptable for the government to stifle a lawfully-registered party from pursuing the only legal recourse available for it to contest the electoral outcome.”

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