Uganda: Break-in of the Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HRAPF)’s premises

12/02/2018
Urgent Appeal

UGA 001 / 0218 / OBS 020
Break in / Assault
Uganda
February 12, 2018

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Uganda.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the break-in of the Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HRAPF)’s premises [1].

According to the information received, at around 3 am on February 9, 2018, about nine unidentified individuals attempted to break-in into HRAPF’s premises, cut power to the building, disabled parts of the security system and assaulted two security guards on duty with iron bars and batons. They both sustained severe injuries, including a skull fracture to one of them. The individuals left the premises after HRAPF’s security providers came, and failed to take anything from HRAPF’s offices.

The Observatory recalls that it is the second time in less than two years that HRAPF’s premises are suffering such gruesome attack. Already, on May 22, 2016, four unidentified individuals scaled the fence of the HRAPF premises and suffocated the security guard to death [2]. To date, no effective police investigation lead to those responsible being brought before a court of justice. Rather, a mere police report classifying the attack as a random attack was provided.

The Observatory expresses its utmost concern over the break-in into HRAPF’s premises and the assault of its security guards, and fears that this would be the latest illustration of a series of targeted attacks against human rights defenders and organisations in Uganda in a context of prevailing impunity [3].

The Observatory calls for an immediate, thorough, transparent investigation into both of the above-mentioned incidents at HRAPF’s premises, as well as into all the other break-ins, thefts, and acts of violence against NGOs and human rights defenders in Uganda, in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before an independent tribunal, and to apply them the sanctions provided by the law.

The Observatory urges Ugandan authorities to guarantee the respect for freedom of association and to prevent any hindrance or reprisals against the work of human rights defenders and organisations.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities in Uganda asking them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of HRAPF representatives and related personnel, as well as all human rights defenders in Uganda;

ii. Order an immediate, thorough, transparent investigation into both of the above-mentioned incidents at HRAPF’s premises and the related break-in, and all the other above-mentioned break-ins, thefts and acts of violence against NGOs and human rights defenders in Uganda, in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before an independent tribunal, and apply them the sanctions provided by the law;

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

iv. Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, especially its Articles 1, 5 and 12.2;

v. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international 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
• General Jeje Odongo, Minister of Internal Affairs, Fax: +256 414343088
Mr. Obiga Kania, State Minister for Internal Affairs, Fax: + 256 414343088
• Mr. William Byaruhanga, 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
• Mr. Med Kaggwa, Chairperson, Uganda Human Rights Commission, Email: uhrc@uhrc.ug Telephone: +256414348007
• Gen. Kale Kayihura, Inspector General of Police, Telephone: +256 (0) 712 755 999
• H.E. 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
• H.E. Mirjam Blaak Sow, Embassy of Uganda to the EU in Brussels, Belgium. Fax: + 32 2.763.04.38. Email: ugembrus@brutele.be , info@ugandamission-benelux.org

Please also write to the diplomatic mission or embassy of Uganda in your respective country

***
Paris-Geneva, February 12, 2018,

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and OMCT. The objective of this programme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu , the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
· Email: Appeals[at] fidh-omct.org
· Tel and fax FIDH: + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
· Tel and fax OMCT: + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29

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