For Immediate Release
INVESTIGATE WORRYING TREND OF CONTINUED EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLINGS OF BODA BODA RIDERS IN KISORO DISTRICT AND THE SURROUNDING AREAS.
(Kabale 20th April 2022) Local Sustainable Communities Organisation (LOSCO) and its partners Kisoro Concern for Marginalised People organisation (KCOMPO) are deeply concerned with the escalation in extra judicial killings of Boda Boda riders in Kabale and surrounding areas and we are issuing this statement to detail the occurrence and call for specific and urgent investigations into this emerging pattern. This Started in the month of April 2022 and Police has not put any effort to have this mitigated even with the installation of traffic cameras.
Rebels from the M23 group on 10th April 2022 announced their retreat from villages captured in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo last week following clashes with government troops in the Rutshuru region as fighting between the rebels and soldiers flared up on the 13th April 2022 after several days of calm, as rebels from the (M23) took control of around a dozen villages in Rutshuru territory in North Kivu province, and the influx of refugees from the war affected areas continued to increase through the border point of Bunagana where an average of 200 refugees enter the District of Kisoro on a daily basis and are hosted at Nyakabande Refugee Camp.
Kisoro district has turned out to be an -insecure place for boda boda riders following continuous attacks by unknown criminals. The riders in the district are now living in fear following criminals who target their lives and motorcycles. The Police in Kisoro District are allegedly hunting for unidentified assailants who allegedly killed a motorcyclist and took off with his motorcycle. Davis Ndayisenga 28 years a boda boda rider and resident of Nyabitare village in Rwaramba Parish, Nyakinama Sub County lost his life on the night of 14th April 2022 after the deceased was hired by yet unidentified man who allegedly hit him using the 10-kilogram sledgehammer from his stage of operation opposite Miami Hotel in Kisoro Municipality on the fateful evening and was later found lying near the road in Rwaramba village, Nyakinama Sub County unconscious and his motorcycle taken. A case of aggravated murder was registered at Kisoro Central Police Station under reference number CRB 215/2022 to help in investigations as confirmed by the Kigezi Regional Police Spokesman Elly Maate in an interview.
The Kisoro Boda Boda General secretary Mr. Batumukoraho said that on 4th April 2022, Karenzi James a resident of Sagitwe village Mabungo parish Nyarusiza sub county was attacked by unknown people and left him unconscious before they disappeared with his new Bajaj Boxer Reg No. UFN346/L and has since been transferred to Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital for further management. Another youth victim identified as a one “Ivan” in his 20’s from Sagitwe Mabungo parish Nyarusiza Sub County who operates at Travellers stage in Kisoro municipality he says was hit by criminals using a blunt object and left him unconscious before they fled with his motorcycle. Mbarushimana Philip a resident of Gikobero, Nteko in Nyabwishenya Sub County also of Kindly service Stage died after unknown persons in Rubuguri town council burned him together with his motorcycle into ashes. It was also revealed that there are more than 8 members of boda boda industry who have developed mental issues because of being attacked by iron bar hitmen that target their heads and other attacks are not recorded because they happen in farther places.
Boda Boda riders are low-income earners who are majorly youth with young families and are the breadwinners. This is an alternative source of income for most of the unemployed youth who acquire them through credit facilities by staking their properties. This scourge threatens their survival stability as well as those they care about.
Article 22 of the Constitution of Uganda provides for Protection of right to life. This is at Stake for these victims as well as Article 40 which provides for Economic Rights; where the incomes and economic stability of the industry beneficiaries in this part of the country are being threatened, the same fundamental rights embolden the very peaceful democratic principles any society thrives on which the Government is obligated to respect, protect, and fulfill.
We therefore recommend that;
For more information, please contact:
Mr. Taremwa Albert – Executive Director – LOSCO – +256772935100 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. Mbereyinka Bernard – Programs Coordinator – KCOMPO – +256770917808 – email@example.com
The Forum on the participation of NGOs in the 71st session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
Sub regional update on democracy, rule of law and human rights in East and Horn of Africa
As the continent grapples with a post covid 19 period, democracy, rule of law and realisation of human rights continue to be tested in the East and Horn of Africa. The region continues to witness a downward trend with increased reports of violations of the rights to freedoms of opinion and expression, association, and peaceful assembly. Despite risks and threats, human rights defenders continue their work to promote and protect human rights.
Burundi’s civic and democratic space remains severely restricted. While President Evariste Ndayishimiye made a few attempts to release pressure over civil society and Burundian citizens in general, including by releasing prisoners in January 2022, some HRDs arrested in the aftermath of the 2015 political crisis remain in jail. The government continues to exert its control and curtail the rights to freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly, and association. Reports of extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrest, torture, and enforced disappearances of opposition members and government persist. Impunity remains widespread, including for violations and abuses related to the 2015 political crisis.
Djibouti and Eritrea remain the most repressive governments in the sub-region. The rights to free expression, association, and peaceful assembly continue to be severely restricted, making it virtually impossible for independent human rights organisations or individual HRDs to operate in the country.
The Ethiopian conflict has wreaked havoc on millions of people in Tigray and the neighbouring regions of Afar and Amhara, as well as in Benishangul Gumuz and Oromia, which continue to experience intercommunal conflict and localised violence. Gross and systematic violations and abuses, including attacks against civilians, sexual violence, arbitrary arrests, and ethnic cleansing, continue to occur. Ethiopian citizens’ enjoyment of their freedom of expression has further declined during the reporting period. Ethiopian authorities declared a nationwide state of emergency on 4 November, giving the government broad powers that increase the risk of arbitrary arrest and detention of at-risk communities. Several journalists have been harassed, intimidated, or arrested. The government has made a few positive steps recently, including declaring a ceasefire to allow relief to reach afflicted citizens and releasing several political opposition members from prison. The state of emergency was lifted in early 2022. Recently, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has pointed to talks with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), increasing prospects for peace.
Kenya is set to hold general elections in August 2022. The pre-election period is characterised by grave violations, including extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, and torture often committed by security forces. Gender-based violence, primarily against women and girls, continues, and the LGBTQI community continues to be targeted. To date, Kenyan authorities have used the Covid-19 pandemic as an excuse to restrict freedom of peaceful assembly. In the reporting period, the Magistrate Court in Mombasa found six activists guilty of illegally gathering and failing to maintain physical distances in a public place.
Rwanda continues to stifle its civic space and target those it perceives as critics. Arbitrary arrests, torture, threats, and unfair trials remain commonplace for political opponents, critics, journalists, and bloggers. Several critics continued to be targeted in this reporting period, including Paul Rusesabagina. The civic space environment does not allow for criticism, and as a result, citizens, journalists, media, and civil society self-censor.
In Somalia, the presidential election originally scheduled to take place in late 2020 is postponed until an agreement is reached. The lower house elections, initially scheduled for November to December 2021, have been postponed, and the deadline continues to be further extended. During the reporting period, the right to freedom of opinion and expression remained limited, with both state and non-state actors targeting journalists. Several journalists were harassed, abused, and arbitrarily arrested. In Somaliland, authorities increased the censorship of journalists and the media.
In South Sudan, concerns have been raised over the ongoing conflict and the possibility of resumption of the armed conflict at national level. Gross human rights violations and abuses of international humanitarian law continue, including rape, sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), and increased attacks on humanitarian workers and convoys. An increase in violence in Upper Nile State and other parts of the country threatens the 2018 peace agreement (R-ARCSS). On 22 March 2022, the main opposition force, Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army in Opposition (SPLM/A-IO), suspended its participation in the security mechanisms tasked with overseeing the implementation of the R-ARCSS. SPLM/ A-IO claimed the suspension was based on the security mechanism’s ineffectiveness in implementing the peace agreement. On 31 March 2022, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution that extended the mandate of its Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan (CHRSS). Civic space is increasingly restricted as the government continues to crack down on journalists and government critics.
Sudan’s humanitarian, security, and economic situation has been deteriorating since the coup on 25 October 2021. Security forces continue to violently suppress protests and target protestors. The country has been immersed in a political and social crisis since the beginning of January, following the resignation of Abdallah Hamdok as prime minister of the transitional period. The country remains without a functioning government. Several protestors are held without charges and are refused access to their lawyers and families. Moreover, the value of Sudan’s currency is depreciating. Consequently, the prices of bread, fuel, electricity, health care and public transport have all skyrocketed. UN Special Representative Volker Perthes warned that while the protests began as an “anti-coup protest,” they developed an additional socio-economic character. Additionally, intercommunal violence in Darfur has intensified.
Since the swearing in of President Samia Suluhu Hassan, in March 2021, Tanzania has taken positive measures to improve its civic space. The government issued new publishing licenses to four newspapers banned during the late President John Magufuli’s rule. Additionally, it announced its intention to amend the restrictive Media Services Act (2016). President Samia Suluhu met with Tundu Lissu, the exiled opposition figure residing in Belgium. Authorities also freed opposition leader Freeman Mbowe and his co-accused after the Director of Public Prosecutions submitted a motion to dismiss the terrorist accusations against them. Despite the positive measures taken, the situation remains tense for media freedom. In the first two months of 2022, eight journalists were arrested.
The human rights situation in Uganda deteriorated in the reporting period. Restrictions on critics and opposition leaders have increased. Security forces arbitrarily detained, abducted, and tortured critics and political opponents. In December 2021, author Kakwenza Rukirabasaija was kidnapped and tortured whilst held incommunicado. Further, the rights to freedoms of opinion and expression, peaceful assembly, and association are increasingly under pressure. The authorities targeted and arrested several journalists and raided two media houses. The main opposition leader Robert Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine, was under house arrest ahead of his scheduled campaign for the by-elections in December. To date, close to 30 of the 54 NGOs suspended arbitrarily by the NGO Bureau continue to be under indefinite suspension. Chapter Four Uganda challenged the arbitrary actions of the NGO Bureau; courts are yet to rule on the matter. HRDs and journalists face arrest, harassment, intimidation, and assault in reprisal for their work.
Considering the updates and trends observed, DefendDefenders makes the following recommendations for action by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights:
CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATIONS AND HUMAN RIGHTS CULTURE
Civil society plays an important role in the development and support of public policies, raises awareness of fundamental rights, monitors violations of human rights, and provides services to vulnerable communities. It also plays a role in monitoring government and public sector through checks and balances on service delivery thus holding government accountable to the citizens.
CSOs include ‘NGOs’, CBOs and their many networks and coalitions, trade unions, loose coalitions, faith based organisations, journalists, individual activists and other forms of mostly urban-based forms of collaborative undertakings, such as professional associations. NGO’s and CBOs appear to often be a donor-dependent part of civil society, with staff, vehicles, projects, and agendas that ordinary people do not always associate with, or feel close to where accountability to donors often takes precedence over accountability to the local population. At the regional level, Article 5(e) of the Treaty covers issues of mainstreaming gender into all EAC endeavors, while Article 121 and 122 emphasize the role of women in socio-economic development in the Partner States. Throughout the country, women and gender diverse people’s organisations have campaigned against violence against women through providing legal advice and assistance to women and training police, judges, and prosecutors on issues of gender based violence.
The privileges of Civil society include; promoting the notion of democracy through actual activism, increases the pressure on the state and politicians to actually listen to the needs and demands of its citizens, increases plurality and provides a voice to an often disenfranchised and discriminated section of a society and is the only truly grassroots organisation.
However, if civil society does not fulfill one of their main responsibilities to hold government accountable then good governance will be hampered. If the view of certain civil society organizations does not represent the majority of the society’s views and influence government decision making through corrupt and back door methods.
In short, civil society is a key player in creating the conditions for the realization of human rights. It promotes human rights discourse that validates rights norms, particularly by including devalued and invisible groups.
Civil society creates and recreates the conditions for validating and realizing human rights. Which include: (1) providing a sphere of action for all social groups; (2) making injustice public; (3) protecting private spaces from state and market incursion; (4) intervening and interacting directly with legal and political systems; (5) driving social innovation, and providing a discourse of plurality and (6) Demonstrate Possibilities for Change which can be considered by duty Bearers. Human rights discourse must be practical, responsive and accessible to a plurality of perspectives. This discourse needs to engage devalued and invisible groups as proponents for the change that they perceive as necessary to justice.
These and many more covered on the two week’s HRE Training under EAHRP supported by EQUITAS.
MARGINALISED GROUP REPRESENTATIVES MENTORED IN AN ENGAGEMENT SPACE FOR DUTY BEARERS AND RIGHTS HOLDERS IN KABALE
African Youth Development Link in partnership with CIPESA Uganda, Show Abilities Uganda (SAU), and Rwenzori Peace Bridge of Reconciliation (RPBR) with support from Freedom House are implementing the ‘Rights and Justice Activity Election Sub-group (RAJA) Project, which is aimed at increasing participation of marginalized groups (Youth, PWDs, Elders, key populations, workers) in Electoral processes. Under the project, the subgroups held a mentorship engagement space for rights holders in the district of Kabale on Thursday 17th March 2022 in Partnership with Local Sustainable Communities Organisation (LOSCO). The purpose of the mentorship engagement space for duty bearers and rights holders in Kabale was to create a platform for strategizing and prioritizing issues of persons with disabilities in the policy reform process. In general, these spaces will be used to generate and document issues relating to the challenges that limit the participation of marginalized interest groups in the electoral process.
The Goal of the engagement was “To contribute to the inclusion of marginalized groups (youth, PWDs, Elders, key populations, workers) in Electoral processes in Uganda”
And the Objectives were;
To document issues challenging the participation of marginalized groups in the electoral processes
To generate action points on promoting inclusiveness of marginalized groups in Elections which will further be used to enrich the policy paper on addressing the issues identified.
The recently celebrated International Women’s day’s theme was “Gender equality for a sustainable tomorrow” and the global theme was “Break the bias-imagine a gender equal world.” In the case of Uganda, for example, the percentage of women in cabinet from increased from 27% to 43%. Women also constitute 43% of Local Government positions and 33% of parliamentary seats. Women also occupy prime positions in government such as office of the Vice president, prime minister, deputy speaker, serious government parastatals and the case of PLWDs is It is estimated that 15% of the world’s population live with some form of disability and that prevalence is higher among women, as about 1 in 5 women 18 years and older live with one. In 2014, Number of males 2-14 years with a disability was higher than that of females by 43,000. For 15 years and above, the number of females with a disability was nearly 1.5 times more. 36% PWDs. 36% PWDs NEARLY 1.4M persons 5 years and above were identified to be having multiple disabilities. Reports indicate that the representation of women from organizations of persons with disabilities tends also to be low in national coordination mechanisms on disability matters” and that their representation “in national machinery for gender equality is even lower. Disability prevalence rate in Uganda indicates that among persons aged 5 years 14% & above in Uganda in 2014 where 15% are women and 12% men. The proportion of persons aged 5 years and above who had difficulty seeing was higher compared to the other activity domains where 7.4% were women and 5.4% men.
“In 2016, 32% of the eligible voters did not vote and there is need to dissect that number into the demographics to determine the actual number of Youths, Women, PLWDs” – Mr. Naduli Musisi Ahmed – DEA – Kabale
THE CHALLENGES IDENTIFIED INCLUDED;
(i) There are issues related to finances where the Nomination fees bar many able leaders from the electoral processes because there is no steady inflow of return on investment, which is seen by many as a stumbling block. Elections in Uganda have shifted financially which has crippled the marginalised groups.
(ii) The consistent lack of information on the Electoral Processes and activities due to mobilisation issues and/or apathy. This is also coupled with inadequate voter education that leaves a big gap in the processes.
(iii) Another identified issue is concerned with limited will by the identified groups to participate in Electoral Processes due to the concerns of remunerations at different levels where facilitation is in theory and never realised practically.
(iv) Due to limited representation, the PLWDs leaders and representatives are non-responsive to the issues that affect their constituency as well as limited sensitisation among the PWDs and also the representation at the National Level is much lacking with ONLY two Members of Parliament for the entire Country that don’t always get to the Grassroots for evidence based legislation.Large Area of Coverage that is not consistent with the facilitation availed for the work plans, which limits both service delivery and Monitoring. This is coupled with the Representative MPs that do not have manifestos.
(vi) Urban Mentality that keeps the youth in Urban Areas rather than rural Areas makes it burdensome to build their capacity in democratic principles and activate the democratic structures.
(vii) GBV from Women’s homes cause family breakdowns and Divorce, which is because women are both under rated and undermined in their leadership positions.
(viii) Overdependence on male gender limiting women’s leadership and financial capacity. This is also a catalyst for Sex demands on both sides, which is an issue that needs to be handled expeditiously.
(i) Leaders for the marginalised groups of people need to give feedback concerning the issues raised from the National Level downwards. All the categories of people need to be ably represented.
(ii) Continuous Civic Education by the National Human Rights Council and this should be introduced at lower Education levels to involve the knowledge and participation of pupils and students at all levels. It makes a lot of sense to inculcate it in the education curriculum.
(iii) The increased and improved communication modes would play a big role where information needs to be disseminated through Print Media, Radios, and Televisions, which can be done through partnerships.
(iv) The need to address Administration issues through continued empowerment of the PLWDs along other marginalised groups and intentionally emphasizing Education inclusivity for Equal Service Delivery. This can be done through Popularising PWD Act, Youth Act, Women Act and deliberately increasing the efforts to induct the Elected Persons.
(v) Continuous Voter Education to promote patriotism by Electoral Commission. This also helps in reducing the cost of carrying out the Electoral Activities and Processes.
(vi) Continuous Public awareness on the issues pertaining to the Rights and Responsibilities as well as the information sharing amongst the Rights Holders and Duty Bearers. Access to information should be improved and Pluralism for change in systems to mitigate dependency syndrome.
(vii) All the Groups MUST get involved in the Budget Processes for ownership of the program implementation and Monitoring.
(viii) An introduction of Online Monitoring would go a long way to reduce the Mobility and increase participation. This can also be achieved through increasing platform opportunities for conversations.
BRIEFS FOR THE 3RD LOSCO AGM 29th January 2022 at WHITE HORSE INN HOTEL KABALE
This was the 3rd AGM for LOSCO. The First was held with the members that had been part of the original Kigezi Sustainable Communities Organisation (KISCO) when it had been registered in 2020. The Second was conducted as part of the Revival Outreach Ministries as at the time it was being handled under the Ministry in 2021. Today after several discussions and consultations, LOSCO holds her first Independent AGM though third from Inception.
LOSCO emerged because of informal discussions and sharing of experiences between Women Leaders, Social Workers and Local Community Development Workers where the marginalised women participants testified to the extent that the development effort had failed to respond to the marginalised community. One of the reasons for the lack of marginalised programming was attributed to lack of appreciation of the role and impact that this distinct vulnerable population had on advancing the development process. It was observed that development partners in Uganda required support for including the marginalized communities in decision making, strengthening management capacity, and accessing current information on Human Rights, Health, Education, Digital and Infrastructural development.
The summary of financial report highlighting the statement of incomes and expenditures and the Financial position of LOSCO for the year ended 31st December 2021. These reports were compared between 2020 and 2021.
LOSCO has been making progress about Human Rights work and has established relationship contacts with local structures as Uganda Police, Uganda Association of Women Lawyers (FIDA Uganda). CBOs, Health Institutions, Legal Institutions, Education Institutions, Religious Institutions and CSO Networks and NGOs as presented in the Annual Report. LOSCO has also worked with Members of Parliament and other institutions according to their niche of Human Rights Advocacy.
Its not been an easy journey but one we can rightfully celebrate and by the Grace of God, we are here today.
Appreciation goes to the Donors, Partners, Friends and Stakeholders without forgetting the beneficiaries that have made it possible for LOSCO to succeed in the programming and the activities geared towards transforming communities.
TREE PLANTING ACTIVITY REPORT
THEME: “PLANTING TREES AS WE CHANGE THE NARRATIVE ABOUT CIVIL SOCIETIES”
LOSCO and its partners, with support from OXFAM and Narratives Pilot project designed activities around tree planting so as to promote a government development agenda, but also use the opportunity to open channels of communication between the Government, civil society, and citizens.
During the 2021 general elections, like was in previous elections, LOSCO in Partnership with CCEDU noted widespread violence against members of the opposition, intimidation of the opposition, civil society and the media by state actors. Uganda has had a history of elections marred by administrative and logistical challenges that can only be dealt with through a shift in the narrative increased number of case of Domestic Violence and mass murders. As part of strengthening the narrative dimension in Uganda, civil society conversations will converge around tree-plating activities and situating the tree-planting drives as a key precursor for the promotion of a healthy electoral environment and human rights situation in Uganda.
The purpose of the conversations will be to create a narrative that deconstructs bad elections and deepens the understanding of the citizenry on the need for progressive development. The goal is to shift the power back to the citizenry through the narratives. This will directly deal with the frustration and mistrust that the citizenry have in Ugandan Leaders. The idea was to promote beliefs and values in progressive Ugandans (audience) that we have the power to change the decaying leadership narratives with Special focus on the youth and local leaders as well as women because it is they that will find value in planting trees for posterity.
The tree planting campaign first took place in Wakiso, Masaka and now Kabale and will close off in Mbale, Mayuge and Kampala. The tree-planting drives will continue to be used to engage the communities on the best ways we can jointly work together with the Government to promote democracy, human rights, and fulfilling Government programs.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
The main objective of the tree planting campaign was to change societal and community narratives towards Civil Society Organizations. Furthermore, the following were achieved in the Process:
1) To provide a platform rejuvenate the environment;
2) To build capacity and popularity of communities to understand the role of CSOs towards development and good governance.
3) To engage policy makers, government institutions, and other key stakeholders on the need to enhance effective community participation and inclusion.
CONTRIBUTION TO SDGs
The tree planting campaign is also well aligned towards Uganda’s National Development Plan III (that aims at promoting resilience and wealth creation) , the National Agenda on Sustainable Development Goals, SDG5 (Gender Equality), SDG6 (Water and Sanitation), SDG7(Affordable and Clean Energy), SDG11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), SDG12(Responsible Consumption), SDG13(Climate Action), SDG15(Life on Land), SDG16(Peace, Justice and Institution) and SDG17(Partnership for Development) as well as Vision 2030 priorities towards rejuvenating of the environment and improving community participation towards environmental protection for sustainable development.
Having experienced the high rate of environmental degradation in communities, the rate of carbonization has increased due to an increase in urbanization and human activities; this campaign is also informed by the community mindset towards CSOs to reform environment as well as building sustainability.
The tree-planting platform was used to create positive conversation around Human Rights, Domestic Violence, and Electoral Democracy. This was to deconstruct dominant hostile narratives that have delegitimized roles of citizens in democratic and fair processes. Planting trees, developing and sharing messages through campaigns around the tree planting for a stable future was the focus. Messages were developed and shared during the tree planting exercises to re-energize citizens on their role to development processes. Women and youth, key government actors were reached out to and Human Rights advocates and Activists in the different areas led it. The Activity took place in the Sub county of Kyanamira, Ndorwa East Kabale District.
The Activity was carried out by LOSCO Membership infrastructure to CCEDU, NCHRD-U, DPI and Defend Defenders with support from OXFAM and NARRATIVES PILOT PROJECT.
LOSCO with its partners will continue to engage communities and the Local Government to ensure that the narrative towards CSOs is changed and to support the Government to achieve its goals.