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Uganda

    December 07, 2015

    Ugandan police have arbitrarily arrested political opposition leaders and used excessive force to disperse peaceful political gatherings, hindering the ability of Ugandans to receive information and engage with politicians in the lead-up to elections, a new Amnesty International report launched in Kampala today has found.

    Based on 88 interviews including with torture victims, eyewitnesses and senior police officers, as well as analysis of video footage, the report, “We come in and disperse them”: Violations of the right to freedom of assembly by the Ugandan police, documents a range of human right violations between July and October 2015. Members of the political opposition, including their presidential candidates, have been repeatedly placed under “preventive arrest” and police have indiscriminately fired tear gas and rubber bullets at peaceful demonstrators.

    “All Ugandans must be free to attend political rallies and engage with candidates, regardless of their political affiliations,” said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    January 18, 2015

    The impending transfer of Dominic Ongwen, alleged former commander of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) to the International Criminal Court (ICC) is a step towards justice for the victims who have suffered brutality at the hands of the LRA for more than two decades, said Amnesty International today.

    “This is a significant development in the pursuit for justice. The LRA abducted, killed and mutilated thousands in Uganda and committed atrocities, including the use of child soldiers and sexual slavery,” said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa.

    “It’s been almost a decade since arrest warrants were issued against LRA leaders. The impending transfer of Dominic Ongwen to The Hague to face charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes finally paves the way for survivors of LRA atrocities in northern Uganda to see justice done.”

    January 07, 2015

    Following reports that Dominic Ongwen has surrendered to the US forces, Amnesty International is calling for his immediate transfer to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to face trial.

    “The people of northern Uganda have waited almost 10 years for the warrants issued by the ICC against leaders of the Lord’s Resistance Army to be executed. Dominic Ongwen now needs to be held to account for the numerous charges he faces of murder, mutilation, forced recruitment of child soldiers and use of sex slaves – crimes he allegedly committed when he was a senior commander of  the LRA,” said Michelle Kagari, Deputy Regional Director for Amnesty International.

    “The remaining two warrants of arrest against other Lord Resistance Army leaders Joseph Kony and Okot Odhiambo must be expedited without delay.”

     

    Background

    October 16, 2014

    Released  08.00 BST - 16 October 2014

    Repressive and discriminatory legislation enacted over the last 18 months in Uganda has led to increasing state repression, violence and homophobic and gender-based discrimination, according to a new report published by Amnesty International today.

    “Rule by Law” – Discriminatory Legislation and Legitimized Abuses in Uganda, launching today in Uganda’s capital city Kampala, details how three pieces of legislation have violated fundamental human rights, fuelled discriminatory abuses and left individuals unable to seek justice.

    “Repression in Uganda is increasingly state sanctioned through the use of blatantly discriminatory legislation that erodes rights guaranteed in the country’s Constitution,” said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa.  

    “The government must act now to revise these toxic laws, which threaten the core of human rights in Uganda.”

    August 01, 2014

    The striking-down of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act is a step towards stopping state-sponsored discrimination in its tracks, said Amnesty International.

    “Even though Uganda’s abominable Anti-Homosexuality Act was scrapped on the basis of a technicality, it is a significant victory for Ugandan activists who have campaigned against this law. Since it was first being floated in 2009, these activists have often put their safety on the line to ensure that Ugandan law upholds human rights principles,” said Sarah Jackson, Africa Deputy Regional Director at Amnesty International.

    “We now hope that this step forward translates into real improvements in the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people in Uganda, who have been trapped in a vicious circle of discrimination, threats, abuse and injustice for too long.”

    Since Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act came into force in March 2014, Amnesty International documented a sharp increase in arbitrary arrests, police abuse and extortion against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people.

    Many lost their jobs, were left homeless or were effectively forced to flee the country.

    July 13, 2014

    Uganda is a dangerous place for gay people, and yet these individuals are expressing pride in who they are, and supporting the rights of other people who are gay.

     

    Do you or your friends have one parent? Both a mother and a father? Two mothers or maybe two fathers?

    In Canada, some families have two mothers or two fathers. But in some countries, including Uganda, it is against the law for two men, or for two women, to love each other.

    Gay* people love someone of the same gender. In many countries, gay people are bullied and harassed, put in prison, and sometimes even killed.

    In February 2014, the government of Uganda passed a bill to make being gay unlawful. Gay people can now be put in jail for the rest of their lives.  

    Gay people are not the only ones affected by the new law. Those who provide them healthcare, or who defend the human rights of gay people, can also be put in prison.

    May 15, 2014

    Released: 5:00 am BST, May 15, 2014

    Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people in Uganda have reported a surge in human rights violations since the passage of the Anti-Homosexuality Act on December 20, 2013, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said today.

    February 24, 2014

    President Museveni has just signed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law. It is a draconian and damaging piece of legislation, Amnesty International said today.

    SHOW YOUR SOLIDARITY with Uganda’s LGBTI community

    This note sent to Amnesty International in January 2014 by a Ugandan LGBTI activist shows just how much our solidarity means to activists in Uganda.

    "The solidarity cards were amazing. I cried for a while when I received them. When I suggested the solidarity cards for the lgbt community, I didn't know the impact they would have.

    Public statements have great impact, but personal messages provide us as individuals with strength to keep you going . The timing couldn't have been better. Thank you. Really, thank you."
     

    February 09, 2014

    Amnesty International staff hand over 86,169 signatures to the Ugandan High Commission in London, calling for the Anti-Homosexuality Bill to be scrapped.© Azmina Dhrodia/Amnesty International

    Thousands of civil society activists, including Amnesty International supporters in the UK, Canada, Spain and Germany are acting together today in solidarity with campaigners in Uganda to show their opposition to Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill and call on President Museveni to veto it.  

    “If this deeply discriminatory bill is passed it will legalize the persecution of people on the grounds of their sexual orientation. Since the Bill was proposed there’s been an increase in homophobic arrests and mob violence. This is turning into a witch-hunt. President Museveni must veto the bill before the situation worsens,” said Gemma Houldey, Uganda Researcher at Amnesty International.

    December 20, 2013

    Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni must veto the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which was passed in a surprise vote this morning, Amnesty International said. The passage of the Bill – which dramatically increases the criminal penalties for consensual sexual activity between adults of the same sex – amounts to a grave assault on human rights. 

    In addition to violating rights to privacy, family life and equality, the bill threatens freedom of association and expression – all protected under Ugandan and international human rights law. It institutionalizes discrimination against already marginalized lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) individuals in the country.

    “President Museveni must veto this wildly discriminatory legislation, which amounts to a grave assault on human rights and makes a mockery of the Ugandan constitution,” said Aster van Kregten, Deputy Africa Director at Amnesty International.

    August 05, 2013

    The Public Order Management Bill which is likely to be passed by Uganda’s parliament tomorrow represents a serious blow to open political debate in the country, Amnesty International said today.

    The Bill imposes wide ranging restrictions on public meetings and gives the police unprecedented powers to prohibit and disperse public gatherings of a political nature.

    In its current form, for example, the Bill gives the police discretionary powers to prevent a gathering of as few as three people in a public place to discuss political issues.

    “This Bill represents a serious blow to open political debate in a country where publicly criticizing the government is already fraught with risk,” said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s deputy Africa director.

    “The Ugandan government must stop trying to crush the rights to free speech and peaceful demonstration as enshrined in its own constitution as well as international law.”

    May 24, 2013

    The Ugandan authorities must end an attack on freedom of expression that has left several media outlets shut by security forces for a fifth day, Amnesty International said today after several activists were arrested for protesting against the crackdown.

    Armed police closed two newspapers and two radio stations on 20 May, after they reported on an alleged government plot to assassinate politicians opposed to President Yoweri Museveni’s son taking over when his father steps down.

    Riot police arrested five human rights activists yesterday for protesting against the closure of the Daily Monitor, the Kampala-based newspaper that first published the story earlier in May.

    "The Ugandan authorities' desperation to control an uncomfortable political story has exposed their disregard for freedom of expression and violated the right of Ugandans to receive information," said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International's Deputy Africa Director.

    "The police must immediately withdraw from the offices of all media outlets targeted in this disturbing crackdown, and allow them to go about their journalistic work."

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