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Uganda
25.05.16
Urgent Interventions

Burglary of the Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HRAPF)

UGA 001 / 0515 / OBS 043

Burglary / Killing /

Obstacles to freedom of association

Uganda

May 25, 2016

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a jointprogramme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the WorldOrganisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in thefollowing situation in Uganda.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the burglaryof the Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HRAPF) as well as thekilling of a security guard. HRAPF is a non-governmental organisation whosemission is to promote respect and observance of human rights of marginalisedgroups through advocacy, research, documentation, legal support and litigation.

According to the information received, on May 22, 2016, four unknownassailants scaled the fence of the HRAPF premises, and suffocated the securityguard to death.

After breaking into thepremises, the assailants ransacked the offices of HRAPF Executive Director, Mr.Adrian Jjuuko, and of the Deputy Executive Director, Mr. EdwardMwebaza, and took a number of documents and files, including copies of thememorandum of association, while leaving other valuable items such as laptopsand other electronic material on the spot. The Kampala Metropolitan Police Spokespersonsubsequently announced that police investigators had been sent to the crimescene, but no perpetrators have yet been identified.

The Observatory expresses its utmost concernover the burglary into HRAPF’s office and the murder of its security guard,which is the latest illustration of a series of targeted attacks against humanrights defenders and organisations in Uganda.

On April 10, 2016, unknown assailants had similarly tried to burgle theoffices of the Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-U), aftersedating their guard. On June 29, 2015, computers, valuable documents, cash andother property of HRNJ-Uganda had already been stolen by unknown individuals.Although an investigation was opened into these events, those responsible havenever been identified.

At least 26 NGO offices were reportedly burgled between 2013 and 2014,including those of the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI) andDefendDefenders (East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project).Again, the authorities have failed to identify the perpetrators of theseattacks.

The Observatory callsfor an immediate, thorough, transparent investigation into the killing of thesecurity guard and the burglary of the HRAPF premises, as well as into all the other above-mentionedbreak-ins, thefts, and acts of violence against NGOs and defenders, in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before anindependent tribunal, and apply them the sanctions provided by the law.

Action requested:

Please write to the authorities in Uganda,urging them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physicaland psychological integrity of HRAPF and HRNJ-U representatives and relatedpersonnel, as well as all human rights defenders in Uganda;

ii. Order an immediate, thorough, transparentinvestigation into the killing of the security guard assigned to the HRAPFpremises and the related burglary, as well as into the burglary attempt ofHRNJ-U offices and all the other above-mentioned break-ins, thefts and acts ofviolence, in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before anindependent tribunal, and apply them the sanctions provided by the law;

iii. Guarantee in all circumstances that human rightsdefenders and organisations in Uganda are able to carry out their legitimatehuman rights activities without fear of reprisals;

iv. Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human RightsDefenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9,1998, especially:

- Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually andin association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection andrealisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national andinternational levels”;

- Article 5, which underscores the right of every individual to form,join, and participate in non-governmental organizations; and

- Article 12.2, which provides that the State shall “take all necessarymeasures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone,individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats,retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any otherarbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of his orher rights”;

v. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamentalfreedoms in accordance with international human rights standards andinternational instruments ratified by Uganda.

Addresses:

  • President Kaguta Yoweri Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda, Fax: +256 (0) 414 436 102 / + 256 41 4235459 / +256 41 4344012. E-mail: museveni@starcom.co.ug / aak@statehouse.go.ug
  • Mr. Frederick Ruhindi, Attorney General, and Hon. Kahinda Otafiire, Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs of Uganda, Fax: + 256 41 4250829. E-Mail: mojca@africaonline.co.ug
  • Mr. Mike Chibita, Director of Public Prosecutions, Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs of Uganda, Fax: +256-414-258-565/341-316, Email: admin@dpp.go.ug
  • Ms. Hilary Onek, Minister of Internal Affairs of Uganda, Fax: + 256 414343088
  • Gen. Kale Kayihura, Inspector General of Police, Telephone: +256 (0) 712 755 999
  • H.E. Mr. Christopher Onyanga Aparr, Permanent Mission of Uganda to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Fax: + 41 22 340 70 30. Email: mission.uganda@ties.itu.int
  • Embassy of Uganda to the EU in Brussels, Belgium. Fax: + 32 2.763.04.38. Email: ugembrus@brutele.be


Please also write to the diplomatic missions or embassies of Uganda inyour respective country as well as to the EU diplomatic missions or embassiesin Uganda.

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