Uganda NGOs ransacked, guards killed
From GERALD BUSINGE in Kampala, Uganda
KAMPALA, (CAJ News) – UGANDAN police have been urged to probe incessant attacks on non-governmental organisations and human rights defenders amid the recent killing of security guards on premises.
Since April, intruders have broken into the offices of at least three groups in the city – the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE), the Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HRAPF), and the Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda).
At HRAPF, the assailants beat to death security guard, Emmanuel Arituha.
In an earlier attack on the premises of Uganda Land Alliance, another security guard, Richard Oketch, was beaten to death.
No one has been arrested for the murders.
The break-ins followed more than two dozen previous break-ins at the offices of non-governmental groups since 2012. Although the police inspector general formed a committee of eight officers to investigate the break-ins in July 2014, no one has yet been brought to justice.
The groups are all known for their work on sensitive subjects – including corruption, land rights, freedom of expression, and the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people – and for criticizing government policies
Maria Burnett, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch, said the lack of accountability for attacks on non-governmental organizations has apparently led to an atmosphere in which attackers felt free to kill a security guard, in order to accomplish their aims.
“The Uganda Police Force needs to live up to its obligation to actively investigate these cases and bring those responsible to justice,” said Burnett.
More than 30 organisations have jointly petitioned the Uganda Police Force (UPF) to probe the onslaught.
– CAJ News
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