Human Rights Alarm in Uganda
United States asked to assist Uganda to stop death and violence
Ugandan police responded violently to protestors, killing at least 37, injuring more than 65 others, and incarcerating approximately 350 Ugandan protestors. TASSC respectfully asks that the United States take a leadership role in holding accountable the Ugandan officials responsible for these gross violations of fundamental international human rights laws and principles.
The arrest and detention of presidential candidate, Robert Kyagulanyi, is a sign of the growing repression of opposition politicians ahead of Uganda’s national elections scheduled for January 2021. The Ugandan authorities should release Kyagulanyi immediately and unconditionally and respect the rights of people to peacefully protest his detention.
Security forces arrested Kyagulanyi, popularly known as Bobi Wine, on November 18, 2020, in Luuka district, Eastern Uganda, ahead of a planned campaign rally. The police spokesperson, Fred Enanga, said in a statement that Kyagulanyi, the presidential candidate of the National Unity Platform, was arrested for allegedly breaching Covid-19 regulations by mobilizing large crowds for his campaign rallies. A spokesperson for Kyagulanyi said that his lawyers have been denied access to him. The authorities responded with teargas and live bullets to the protests that followed in Kampala and elsewhere, which led to deaths, and injuries.
A Ugandan eTurboNews reader reported breaking news summarizing an alarming human rights situation in Uganda saying: “These allegations are true. I actually survived the violence because I went to the city centre.”
Nicholas Opiyo, a Uganda civil rights attorney, said posted to his Facebook.
“It is business as usual on two fronts. The first disregard, in fact, the protection of the perpetrators of the 2016 state-inspired violence in Kasese. Secondly, the renewed bloodshed, extrajudicial killings by the Museveni regime in Kasese.Hundreds remain incarcerated on allegations of treason and terrorism while the killers of Kasese are promoted in what can only mean approval of their macabre actions. In the streets of Kampala, renewed killings following Bobi’s arrest. Again, hundreds arrested for taking part in a demonstration while the killers of 80 unarmed citizens on the streets you bothered by the consequences of their actions.”
The US based Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition (TASSC), aims to end the practice of torture wherever it occurs and support survivors as they empower themselves, their families and communities wherever they are
Yesterday TASSC raised the alarm bells on Uganda.
In the streets of Kampala, renewed killings following Bobi’s arrest. Again, hundreds arrested for taking part in a demonstration while the killers of 80 unarmed citizens on the streets you bothered by the consequences of their action
In a press release circulated on Friday TASSC respectfully asks that the United States take a leadership role in holding accountable the Ugandan officials responsible for these gross violations of fundamental international human rights laws and principles.
The Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition (TASSC) was established to meet the needs of survivors of torture and persecution and to advocate for the prevention of torture and support for its survivors. TASSC provides survivors with an array of services, including social services, counseling, legal representation, workforce development, and advocacy to end torture worldwide.
The government of Uganda has come under serious and much-deserved scrutiny for its widespread human rights violations in recent years. TASSC has turned its attention to these abuses with renewed focus in recent months, having learned from survivors and activists of patterns of arbitrary arrests, torture of political opponents, illegal prisons, inhumane incarceration conditions, and other horrific practices by Ugandan authorities.
However, TASSC is increasingly alarmed at the most recent actions by Ugandan authorities. With national elections imminent and opposition to the current regime growing, the Museveni government is now exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic as a means to silence that opposition. Over the last eight months, it has used pandemic restrictions as a pretext to arrest and torture well-known Ugandan activists and to instill fear in the regular population by brutally beating and even killing its own citizens for engaging in simple street commerce to survive the Ugandan COVID-19 lockdown.
Sadly, these abuses have only grown worse. The government’s use of the pandemic as a pretext for oppression has exploded in the last two weeks. On Nov. 3, authorities arrested two prospective presidential candidates, Bobi Wine and Patrick Amuriat, as they attempted to register their candidacies, purportedly because supporters who gathered to support them exceeded Uganda’s pandemic crowd size limits. During his arrest, Bobi Wine was temporarily blinded by the police.
In the last week, Ugandan authorities have unleashed a new wave of political oppression and violence, again using the pandemic as a pretext for human rights violations. Although the ruling regime has held its own large campaign events, on November 18, Bobi Wine was again arrested and detained after a rally of supporters, ostensibly for breaching COVID-19 crowd size rules. In response to Wine’s arrest, supporters held protests in Uganda’s capital Kampala and other cities. Later, Uganda’s Security Minister defended the carnage, telling the protestors that: “police have a right to shoot you and you die for nothing.”
Unless the international community takes action to condemn and deter the government’s brazen human rights violations, the violence will only worsen. TASSC is eager to provide further evidence of these abuses with those who share our concerns.