Uganda Country Guide

The Uganda Country Guide was produced by the Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR) and the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC).

The Country Guide is a compilation of publicly available information from international institutions, local NGOs, governmental agencies, businesses, media and universities, among others. International and domestic sources are identified on the basis of their expertise and relevance to the Ugandan context, as well as their timeliness and impartiality.

The survey of publicly available, international sources was carried out by DIHR in 2015. The draft was updated and localized by UHRC with some interaction with local stakeholders, from January to March 2016.

The completed Country Guide aims to provide a comprehensive overview, on the basis of the information available, of the ways in which companies do or may impact human rights in Uganda. The current Country Guide is not meant as an end product, or a final determination of country conditions. It is intended to be the basis, and the beginning, of a process of dissemination, uptake and modification. DIHR and the UHRC seek further engagement with local stakeholders, and intend to update the Country Guide on that basis.

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Read the full Country Guide here

News Feed

Danone Communities investit pour développer l'accès à l'eau potable dans des pays émergents

7 Nov 2017 — "Danone Communities annonce deux nouveaux investissements pour développer l'accès à l'eau potable dans les pays émergents", 2 novembre 2017 A l’occasion du 8ème Global Social Business Summit, Danone Communities, l’incubateur d’entreprises sociales de Danone à destination des populations à faibles revenus, a annoncé aujourd’hui deux nouveaux investissements visant à développer l’accès à l’eau potable en Haïti, au Kenya, au Rwanda et en Ouganda. Ces investissements témoignent de l’ambition de Danone Communities de dupliquer un modèle innovant d’approvisionnement en eau potable contribuant ainsi au 6ème objectif de développement durable des Nations Unies. Alors qu’on estime à 4 milliards le nombre de personnes dans le monde privées d’accès à l’eau potable, Danone Communities annonce deux nouveaux investissements dans des entreprises sociales dont la mission consiste à développer une offre d’eau potable à prix accessible. Les deux nouveaux bénéficiaires du fonds sont dloHaiti et Jibu, qui opèrent respectivement en Haïti au Kenya, au Rwanda et en Ouganda...ces investissements soulignent l’ambition du fonds d’investissement d’encourager le développement d’un modèle novateur d’approvisionnement en eau. Danone Communities a joué un rôle de catalyseur dans la diffusion du modèle des kiosques à eau – également connu sous le nom de Safe Water Entreprises (SWE) – un modèle rentable permettant de fournir de l’eau potable aux communautés défavorisées. 3 millions de personnes bénéficient déjà de ce modèle à travers le monde...Corinne Bazina, Directrice Générale de Danone Communities commente : « Avec ces deux nouveaux investissements, Danone Communities poursuit son ambition d’accélérer la création de débouchés pour des entreprises sociales, dont la mission est en ligne avec le 6ème objectif de développement durable des Nations Unies, qui prévoit un accès à une eau potable, durable et à un prix abordable d’ici 2030 à tous».

E. Africa: Human Rights Impact Assessment highlights importance of country-specific due diligence to protect human rights of coffee sector workers

30 Oct 2017 — "Human Rights Impact Assessment: A report about the East African coffee sector in: Kenya, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Burundi" The Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB) was commissioned by Coop Danmark (Coop) to conduct a human rights impact assessment (HRIA) of the coffee supply chain for its Kenya-based subsidiary African Coffee Roasters (ACR) and prepare an HRIA report…The HRIA focused on the coffee supply chain in four sourcing countries: Kenya, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and, to a lesser extent, Rwanda. The purpose of this HRIA is to provide a foundation for the development of an appropriate human rights due diligence process for Coop’s and ACR’s operations in these sourcing countries that is in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) and Coop’s and ACR’s responsibility to respect human rights. The research findings reveal that the enjoyment of human rights of coffee farmers depends strongly on the political and economic context of the respective country, including the approach states take in fulfilling their duty to protect human rights. The coffee sectors are strongly influenced by the specific regulatory, political and social context in their respective countries. This is the case for the enjoyment of specific rights impacted by activities linked to coffee growing and production (such as the right to an adequate standard of living, right to water, etc.)… [The report recommends that] Coop/ACR…develop a country -specific approach that responds to the specific conditions in the country in mind – what works in one country will not necessarily work in another country. The human rights due diligence process should be guided by a Coop/ACR policy and CSR and human rights strategies. While bearing in mind the guidance of the UNGPs, the particular actions that are needed should be responsive to the particular situations in each country and, if necessary, each cooperative.

China Communication Construction Company lawsuit (re HIV/AIDS discrimination, Uganda)

22 Sep 2017 — On 3 May 2017, two former Ugandan employees of China Communication Construction Company (CCCC) filed a lawsuit in the High Court of Uganda against the company for unfair dismissal. They claim they were dismissed for being HIV positive. CCCC denies the allegations. The plaintiffs allege that CCCC told them to take a HIV test or face losing their job. When the test came back positive – both are also suing for infringement of their right to privacy because the clinic shared their test results with the company, not them – the first plaintiff claims he had to sign a resignation letter and the other one that she was fired. CCCC denies forcing employees to undertake medical check-ups. It said that the company offers “free, voluntary HIV tests” for the health benefit of employees and not to determine their employment. The plaintiffs seek damages in the amount of 400 million Ugandan Shillings ($110,000), plus interest and legal costs, as compensation for the abuses they have suffered. They tried to reach an out-of-court settlement with the company but there was no agreement. On 16 August 2017, the High Court of Uganda heard the case. - Chinese Company Fires HIV-Positive Workers, Robert I. Rotberg, Harvard Kennedy, on China-US Focus, 1 Aug 2017 - Ugandans take Chinese firm to court in latest HIV workplace battle, Amy Fallon, Thomas Reuters Foundation, 26 Jul 2017 Taslaf Advocates (Counsel for the plaintiffs) - Annet Namuyomba Mukisa & George William Kato v. China Communication Construction Company Ltd – Plaint before the High Court of Uganda, 3 May 2017

Uganda: Locals seek compensation for damage to property, including houses & crops, during road construction to support oil-related operations

16 Oct 2017 — "Residents demand Shs 2bn compensation over Kaiso-Tonya rd" Residents of Kabwoya sub-county in Hoima district are demanding over Shs 2 billion in compensation from Uganda National Roads Authority (Unra) and Collin Construction Company for lost property during the Kaiso- Tonya road works. The affected residents are drawn from Kyenjojo, Hohwa, Kaseta, Nyanseke Kataaba and Kabaale villages, all in Kabwoya sub-county. The road passes through the village of Kabaale, in Buseruka county, the location of the Uganda's oil refinery under construction... Aplha Opio, the LC V councilor Kabwoya sub-county, says during the road works in 2013 the contractors blasted rocks, which damaged resident's property. "During the construction works of Hoima-Kaiso, one of the oil roads in the region, there was rock blasting in the areas in the villages of Hohwa, Kyenjonjo. And similarly, there was a quarry plant that was set by Collin Construction Company next to their camp in Kataaba. During the rock blasting, stones could explode and this caused destruction of properties, crops and even animals. Most of the houses around those villages developed cracks and became uninhabitable and people abandoned them. People no longer even use these houses...We tried to engage the office of the RDC to have an amicable way of solving this but Unra and Collin did not respond well that why in 2015 the matter was brought to this honourable court of Masindi and we’re happy that the case is proceeding on well."

Uganda: How a local advocacy group is organising against forced evictions & land grabbing, including by corporations

16 Oct 2017 — “Ugandans Resist Land Grabbing and US-backed Dictatorship, an Interview with Phil Wilmot” Eighty-four percent of the population of Uganda are rural subsistence farmers. They are resisting both rampant land grabbing and US ally General Yoweri Museveni’s attempt to rule for life. I spoke to Phil Wilmot, an American-born activist who now lives in rural Uganda...[Excerpts of the interview]   The land grabbing is one of the manifestations of dictatorship in northern Uganda and not only northern Uganda—all across Uganda and in much of Africa. A multinational company or a foreign investor or even a huge domestic investor...will have their eye on a piece of land or maybe a mine, and then they will work with the government or other governments in Africa to forcefully evict the people who live there. In 2012, we started Solidarity Uganda to resist these evictions and land grabs. We started in a district called Amuru, which borders the River Nile in northern Uganda. This is an oil rich and very fertile area. Over the course of several years, we worked with the community there to chase away land grabbers and multinational corporations. One was the Madhvani Group, which wanted to plant sugarcane on their land, but there were also a number of oil companies. The oil companies usually operate behind obscure shell companies that do “research” and survey land. Ironically, they’ll sometimes contract with the Uganda Wildlife Authority to survey land for oil drilling or some other form of resource extraction. This is very common, and we've worked with a number of communities across Uganda who have been able to protect their land from these land grabbers.   Madhvani recently announced that they are backing out of all efforts to develop sugarcane projects in Amuru. They said that the environment was "too hostile" to carry on with business there. It was a big victory, but the battles aren't over because there are plenty of foreign investors and multinationals still interested in taking their land. Amuru's people deserve the credit for liberating themselves. Solidarity Uganda merely played a supportive role in terms of training, organizing, and on occasion providing resources to the local people, plus national and international advocacy.

Studie zum Rohstoffsektor in der Subsahara: Deutsche Unternehmen könnten wichtigen Beitrag bei der Ausbildung von Fachkräften leisten

10 Oct 2017 — "Rohstoffe Subsahara: 31 Länder, Stand 2016/2017", Juni 2017 Deutschland ist wie kaum ein anderes Land in die Weltwirtschaft eingebunden, also in hohem Maße auf den Export an Waren, aber auch auf den Import von Energierohstoffen und von mineralischen Rohstoffen angewiesen... Die Nachfrage nach mineralischen Rohstoffen und Energierohstoffen wird sich weltweit bis zum Jahr 2050 voraussichtlich verdoppeln, sollte sich der Trend der letzten 3 Jahrzehnte fortsetzen. Der afrikanische Kontinent bietet ein enormes Potenzial an Energierohstoffen, an Metallen und an Industriemineralen. Vor diesem Hintergrund wird der Bergbau in Afrika eine Schlüsselrolle in der notwendigen Entwicklung und dem Aufstieg der afrikanischen Wirtschaft spielen... Das Thema Aus- und Weiterbildung von Fachkräften, auch in der Bergbaubranche, ist für die afrikanischen Bergbauländer von zentraler Bedeutung. Hier können deutsche Unternehmen und Institutionen mit ihrem Know-how und ihren jahrzehntelangen Erfahrungen einen wichtigen Beitrag leisten. Deutsche Unternehmen sind jedoch bei den afrikanischen Projekten kaum präsent. Schuld daran ist das meist schlechte Image Afrikas als Krisen- und Chaosherd. Dennoch sind viele afrikanischen Staaten auf einem guten Wege, im politischen wie im wirtschaftlichen Bereich. Die vorliegenden Momentaufnahmen aus den Märkten sollen dazu dienen, unternehmerische Entscheidungen für ein Engagement in Afrika zu erleichtern. 

Report alleges human rights defenders shot and wounded by Ferdsult Engineering Services guards

2 Oct 2017 — "Human Rights Defender James Rukanpana Shot by Armed Guards” On 12 September 2017, human rights defender James Rukanpana was shot and severely wounded by armed guards believed to work for the company Ferdsult Engineering Services Limited, whose activities he and fellow human rights defenders have actively been campaigning against. On 12 September 2017, armed guards believed to have contracts with Ferdsult Engineering Services Limited harassed and chased away local community members who were using the lakes for fishing and collecting water. Such activities remain legal on the basis of a decision by the Magistrates Court of Fort Portal in June 2017. The armed guards entered James Rukanpana’s plantation which is located next to one of the crater lakes. James Rukanpana was targeted and shot by the guards in both legs. The human rights defender was then taken to a local hospital for treatment. James Rukanpana has been actively involved in advocating for the rights of the local communities to access the crater lakes for water and domestic fishing. This has included participating in radio talk shows, and mobilising the local community who use the crater lakes to challenge actions of Ferdsult Engineering Services Limited in court. He also organised transport for community members to attend the court hearing in Fort Portal against Ferdsult Engineering Services Limited and the Kabarole District Local Government.

Uganda: Human rights defender shot & wounded by suspected Ferdsult Engineering Services guards; company did not respond

2 Oct 2017 — On 12 September 2017, human rights defender James Rukanpana was shot and severely wounded by armed guards believed to work for the company Ferdsult Engineering Services Limited, whose activities he and fellow human rights defenders have actively been campaigning against. Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Ferdsult Engineering Services to respond. The company did not respond.

Ferdsult Engineering Services did not respond

2 Oct 2017

Uganda: Locals to be displaced for oil facility construction claim proposed compensation is unfair

2 Oct 2017 — "Buliisa residents turn down ‘meagre’ government compensation" Residents of the oil-rich district of Buliisa have rejected government’s proposed compensation for their land to pave way for the Central Processing facility (CPF) project. Government released a programme for relocation and resettlement of the affected people but the residents say the government compensation rates are too low for their land. Government, Total E&P Uganda and Tullow Uganda operations Pty Ltd have completed assessing properties for the project affected persons (PAPs) in the villages of Kasenyi, Kisomere, Uduk II, Kibambura, Mvule, Ajigo, Kirama, Kigwera north East, Kigwera south East and Bikongoro. The land, measuring about 310 hectares, will host a CPF, access road and a base camp during petroleum development activities, according to the Resettlement Action Plan. The Ngwedo Sub-county chairperson, Mr Gilbert Kaliisa, says the affected residents claim the compensation rates which government plans to use to pay them are inadequate. “The residents have insisted that the Shs2.1m which government intends to pay for each acre of land is low and instead want Shs21m per acre,” Mr Kaliisa said. He said while the Shs2.1m is meant for permanent acquisition of each acre of land, oil companies have previously paid them an annual rent of more than Shs4m per acre per year. According to the Resettlement Planning Committee chairperson, Mr Gerald Mulimba, more than 800 PAPs have unanimously rejected the compensation rates for the land, crops and structures. “We have instead unanimously demanded that each acre be compensated at Shs21m,” Mr Mulimba said.