Uganda: Murder of Mr. Erasmus Irumba, Coordinator of the Twerwaneho Listeners Club (TLC)

05/07/2017
Urgent Appeal

UGA 001 / 0717 / OBS 077
Murder
Uganda
July 5, 2017

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 murder of Mr. Erasmus Irumba, Coordinator of the Twerwaneho Listeners Club (TLC) [1] in Ntoroko District, Western Uganda. Recently, his work focused on monitoring the delivery of public services in Butungama, Bweramule and Rwebisengo sub-counties. He notably investigated the misuse of public funds in health services.

According to the information received, on June 23, 2017, at around 7:30 pm, Mr. Irumba was set to meet with Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) [2] senior officials in the province of Ntoroko, at Butungama trading center. Although Mr. Irumba was summoned to “discuss matters of public importance” he was told not to be suspicious as he had no criminal record and since no criminal charges were pending against him. During the meeting, Mr. Erasmus Irumba and another member of the community, Mr. Siet Kanyoro who was accompanying him, were both shot in the leg. Whilst still alive, they were both put in the boot of a private car, driven to a rural area and shot dead at a close range. Both lifeless bodies were taken to Buhinga Regional Referral Hospital in Fort Portal, on the wee hours of June 24, 2017.

It has been reported that UPDF Lieutenant Colonel Richard Muhangi, the Commanding Officer of the 3rd Mountain Battalion under 2nd Division who was present during the shooting, as well as, Ntoroko District Police Commander and District Internal Security Officer, who were also there at the time of the incident, have all been arrested in connection with the shooting and subsequently charged with “murder” and “attempted murder”.

The Observatory recalls that for his human rights work, Mr. Irumba had already been the target of verbal threats by local officials and politicians. Likewise, other TLC members have been subjected to judicial harassment [3].

The Observatory condemns in the strongest terms the murder of Mr. Irumba and urges authorities in Uganda to adopt effective measures to ensure the protection of human rights defenders in the country.

The Observatory also calls for an immediate, thorough, impartial and transparent investigation without undue delay into Mr. Irumba’s murder and for those responsible to be held accountable.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities in Uganda asking them to:

- Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of all human rights defenders in Uganda;

- Carry out an immediate, thorough, impartial, and transparent investigation into the murder of Mr. Erasmus Irumba in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before an independent tribunal, and sanction them as provided by the law;

- Put an end to all acts of harassment against all human rights defenders in the country so that they are able to carry out their work without hindrance;

- Conform to the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, in particular with its Articles 1, and 12.2;

- 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
• 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
• Ms. General Jeje Odongo, Minister of Internal Affairs of Uganda, Fax: + 256 414343088
• 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. 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
• H.E. Ambassador 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, July 5, 2017

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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