Uganda: Break-in of TRIUMPH Uganda offices

13/12/2019
Urgent Appeal

UGA 001 / 1219 / OBS 105
Break-in / Assault
Uganda
December 13, 2019

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint 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 offices of The Robust Initiative for Promoting Human Rights (TRIUMPH Uganda). TRIUMPH Uganda is an organisation focused on protecting and advocating for the human rights of marginalised members of the community, including LGBTI persons.

According to the information received, in the night of December 10, 2019, unknown persons broke into TRIUMPH Uganda offices in Mbale. The perpetrators drugged the security dog, shut down electricity through the main supply and blocked rear entrance door and other internal access doors. The persons accessed the Programme Officer and Executive Director’s offices, opening the file cabinets, and took with them, among other items, two computers and the entire security surveillance and storage system.

In the morning of December 11, 2019, a neighbour who saw that the office had been broken-in called TRIUMPH Uganda’s Executive Director, Mr. Shibolo Awali, who was in an official meeting in Kampala. Mr. Shibolo Awali informed the organisation staff, who immediately called IUIU police station. Police officers immediately deployed to the office premises and stayed until December 12, 2019. The case was registered under reference number 07/11/12/2019. At the time of publication of this Urgent Appeal, investigations are still ongoing on this break-in.

In the morning of December 10, 2019, Mr. Shibolo Awali delivered a speech on the situation of LGBTI persons’ rights before European Union representatives in Mbale.

The Observatory recalls that this is not the first time TRIUMPH Uganda offices are broken into. On June 8, 2019, the same office was broken into but internal access had been unsuccessful and damage was only done to the organisation motor vehicle and a battery plugged off. The case was registered at IUIU police station under reference number 05/08/06/2019. The police still have to send its report on this break-in.

The Observatory expresses its deepest concern about the break-in of TRIUMPH Uganda office premises, which seems to be aimed at intimidating its members and prevent their legitimate human rights activities. The Observatory urges the authorities of Uganda to ensure that the physical and psychological integrity of TRIUMPH Uganda members is guaranteed and to carry-out an immediate, thorough, transparent investigation into the above-mentioned facts.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Uganda asking them to:

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

ii. Carry-out an immediate, thorough, transparent investigation into the above-mentioned break-ins and thefts 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
• Uganda Human Rights Commission, Email: uhrc@uhrc.ug Telephone: +256414348007
• Mr. Martin Ochola, Inspector General of Police, Telephone: +256 (0) 712 755 999
• Mr. Barasa Ogajo, Resident District Commissioner of Mbale, Telephone: +256772846478, Email: barasasuleimanogajo@gmail.com
• 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
• H.E. Attilio Pacifici, Head of the Delegation of the European Union in Uganda, Phone: +256 312-701 000, Fax: +256 414-233 708, Email: delegation-uganda-ppi@eeas.europa.eu
• Mr. Cathal Gilbert, HRD Focal Point, Delegation of the European Union in Uganda, Phone: +256 776 008 187, Email: cathal.gilbert@eeas.europa.eu.

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Uganda in your respective countries.

***
Paris-Geneva, December 13, 2019

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 the World Organisation Against Torture (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:
• E-mail: Appeals@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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