HRCU WEEKLY UPDATES: ISSUE NO. 33 OF 2023
THE HUMAN RIGHTS CENTRE
WEEKLY UPDATE ON KEY
EMERGING HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUES WITHIN THE WORKING ENVIROMENT OF HRDS IN UGANDA
THE WEEK OF 4TH TO
10TH DECEMBER 2023
to this new week,
week, Uganda joined the rest of world to commemorate the International HRDs day
and the International Human Rights Day. Every year on December 10th, Human
Rights Day commemorates the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948. The UDHR is a
foundational document that recognizes the inherent dignity and equal rights of
all members of the human family. This year, was the 75th anniversary of one of
the world's most groundbreaking global pledges: The Universal Declaration of
Human Rights (UDHR).
addition, on the International HRD day, HRCU issued a press statement which can
be accessed here
Uganda, celebrations to mark the two days mentioned above were spearheaded by the
National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders Uganda and a series of activities were concluded which included tree planning, awarding and recognition of HRDs, and
matching through Jinja city to raise awareness on the work of HRDs and their
role in Uganda.
US SANCTIONS PRISONS
BOSS BYABASHAIJA OVER TORTURE
U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control has sanctioned Johnson Byabashaija, the
Commissioner General of the Uganda Prisons Service for alleged gross human
rights abuses targeted at government critics and marginalized groups since
is part of 20 other people sanctioned by the same office for their connection
to human rights abuse in nine countries.
office contends that during the period under review, members of the Uganda
Prisons Service engaged in torture and other serious human rights abuse against
prisoners held within prison facilities.
that period, members of the UPS have engaged in torture and other serious human
rights abuse against prisoners held within UPS facilities. Prisoners have
reported being tortured and beaten by UPS staff and by fellow prisoners at the
direction of UPS staff. Members of vulnerable groups, including government
critics and members of Uganda’s LGBTQI+ community, have been beaten and held
without access to legal counsel; for example, in a 2020 case, the UPS denied a
group of LGBTQI+ persons access to their lawyers and members of the group
reportedly endured physical abuse, including a forced anal examination and
scalding,” the office said in a statement.
TOTALENERGIES FORCING COMMUNITIES TO ACCEPT 'LOW' COMPENSATION
oil company, TotalEnergies coerces and intimidates communities affected by the
$5 billion East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project in Tanzania and
Uganda, a human rights organization has said.
along the 1,443-kilometer pipeline route are forced to accept inadequate
compensation for their land, according to Global Witness, a human rights and
environmental organization. Global Witness accused TotalEnergies of
collaborating with Tanzanian and Ugandan authorities to suppress efforts by
communities seeking accurate compensation for land taken for the oil pipeline.
The pipeline route stretches from Tanzania’s port city of Tanga to Lake Albert in Uganda. TotalEnergies has denied the allegations. Neither country has commented on the report, but previous criticism, including that from Human Rights Watch and court cases against the displacement and abuses, has not stopped or affected the project.
Hindstrom, a senior investigator in the Global Witness land and environmental
defender campaign, told VOA that TotalEnergies is directly involved in human
"We found evidence suggesting that TotalEnergies, through its subsidiary, its contractors and partners, has been party to intimidation and bullying of community members affected by the project,” Hindstrom said.
people we spoke to say they were pressured into accepting compensation for
their land and their property that they felt was too low as a result of a
climate of fear in both countries.”
LABOR FUELLING REPEAT PREGNANCIES AND EARLY MARRIAGES IN FAR TO REACH AREAS
The new study revealed that Teenage Repeat
pregnancies and early /forced marriages are caused by child labor that highly
exists in far to reach areas.
The study that was conducted by AMREF Health Africa
in four districts namely Mbale, Namayingo, Kalangala and Kween in a period of 7
months further indicated that poverty plays a big role in driving the vice as
parents take their young girls as property.
While disseminating the study, Edith Namugabo the
Youth and Community Engagement Officer said that irresponsible and negative
parenting has also led to the vices explaining that parents abandoned their
roles of guiding, protecting and feeding their children most especially girls.
“Sometimes parents do it negatively, they keep
discouraging the girls instead of empowering them. That's why they end up
losing self-esteem and even fail to fight for their rights”, Namugabo stated.
She added that Ignorance of the community about the
dangers of repetitive and early /forced marriages has also continued to put the
lives of girls at a high risk of becoming victims.
The study was conducted by AMREF Health Africa and
other partners under their programme dubbed Heroes for Gender Transformative
Action with support from the Embassy of Netherlands in Uganda. The study was
also done in commemoration of the 16 days of activism against Gender Based
RIGHTS DEFENDERS LAUNCH WEEK-LONG ACTIVITIES
In anticipation of the International Day of Human
Rights Defenders on December 7 and 8, state actors and various human rights
groups, united under the National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders-Uganda,
have commenced a series of impactful events.
The chairperson of the organizing committee, Faith
Namansa, highlighted the diverse activities planned for the week.
These include a media campaign to raise awareness
about human rights defenders, a symbolic walk on the streets of Jinja City,
blood donation drives, tree planting initiatives, and cancer screenings.
The aim is not only to celebrate but also to empower
and increase awareness of the critical work undertaken by human rights
defenders in Uganda.
Robert Kirenga, Chief Executive Officer of the
Coalition of Human Rights Defenders – Uganda, emphasized that the two-day event
aligns with Article 1 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights
FREEDOM: SECURITY AGENCIES, MEDIA OWNERS TO MEET OVER ATTACK ON JOURNALISTS –
The Minister for Information and National Guidance,
Dr. Chris Baryomunsi has hinted on plans to cause a meeting between leaders of
security agencies and media owners over harassment of journalists in line of
The minister’s statement follows a call from media
owners to the government, calling for an end to the excessive use of force by
security agencies to field journalists.
“Is it a question of training that our security
people do not have the necessary skills to work with journalists, especially in
violent situations? or it is our journalists who lack skills on how to cover
violent situations without colliding with security personnel?” Baryomusi wondered.
Minister Baryomunsi said there are plans to meet
security agency leaders together with their journalist counterparts to resolve
the cause of the standoff.
AFRICAN CIVIL SOCIETY UNVEILS ITS RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE FIGHT AGAINST CLIMATE
CHANGE IN AFRICA
At the United Nations’ climate conference COP 28 an
African civil society coalition has unveiled its five absolute priorities to
fight climate change: adaptation, loss and damage, food systems; land use; and
the protection and restoration of forests.
The priorities were announced by Secou Sarr,
Executive Secretary of ENDA-Tiers Monde, representing a collective of African
non-governmental organizations (NGOs) at a side event held on Tuesday 5
December, at the ongoing United Nations Climate Conference (COP28) in Dubai.
These NGOs gathered around a common platform
launched at COP28 - the "African Development Bank Group-Civil Society
Coalition on Climate and Energy". Standing together, the groups intend to
have greater influence on debate at COP28.
Africa is the continent that suffers the most from
the effects of climate change but receives the least climate finance. African
Development Bank President Dr. Akinwumi Adesina made the case to coalition
members for the continent to be able to benefit from its natural resources.
UN TO HOLD MORE
EMERGENCY TALKS ON GAZA AS ISRAEL CLAIMS ADVANCES AGAINST HAMAS. HERE'S THE LATEST
United Nations General Assembly will on Tuesday resume its emergency session on
the situation in Gaza, days after the United States vetoed a UN Security
Council resolution calling for a humanitarian ceasefire.
staff in Gaza feel abandoned after the US veto, a top official said. They
"cannot understand" why a ceasefire has not been agreed upon after
thousands have been killed and displaced, the UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini
number of people killed in Israeli attacks in Gaza since October 7 has risen to
18,205, the Hamas-controlled health ministry in the enclave said Monday.
the ground: Israeli troops are encircling Hamas' final two strongholds in
northern Gaza, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant claimed Monday. Hamas battalions
in the Jabalya and Shejaiya areas were "on the verge of dismantling,"
he said, adding that surrendering militants had admitted they were short of
weapons and food. Meanwhile, the head of the Hamas-run Ministry of Health in
Gaza described heavy fighting and a significant Israeli military presence
around the Jabalya refugee camp, while a doctor said the Kamal Adwan hospital
in Gaza City was surrounded by Israeli forces.
importance of business and human rights in oil companies operating in Uganda
lies in fostering sustainable and responsible business practices that respect
the rights of communities, protect the environment, and contribute positively
to social and economic development. This approach is not only ethically sound
but also contributes to the long-term success and stability of the oil and gas
industry in the region.
child labor and forced marriages in Uganda is vital for promoting human rights
particularly children’s rights and their overall wellbeing. It requires a
comprehensive and coordinated effort from government, civil society, and the
international community to ensure that children’s rights are promoted and protected.
Rights Defenders Day provides an opportunity to honor the bravery and perseverance
of these individuals who fight for justice in the face of adversity. Many
defenders face significant risks, including threats, violence, and harassment,
yet they remain steadfast in their commitment to upholding human rights. By
celebrating their efforts, we not only show our appreciation but also inspire
others to join in the fight for justice and equality.
4. Protecting press freedom is essential for the health and vitality of democratic societies, the protection of human rights, and the overall progress and well-being of nations. Efforts to safeguard press freedom involve upholding legal protections, preventing censorship, and fostering a culture that values the role of an independent and diverse media.
Thank you for reading. Happy new week