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

Uganda: Community in oil-rich region lament lack of information on oil-related activities & few opportunities at local level

25 Sep 2017 — "We’ve been thrown in the oil shadows-Nwoya, Packwach, Nebbi District leaders speak out" Got Apwoyo sub county is headquartered somewhere inside a tiny structure in Nwoya district, tucked behind the Gulu – Pakwach highway...Mr Openy Ben Latim, the LC3 chairperson Got Apwoyo sub county, is a very bitter man. Nwoya district lies in the Albertine region which harbours Uganda’s oil fields. Across the highway is the Murchison Falls National Park where Total E&P won production licences for oil and gas in the Exploration Area (EA1). Despite the proximity, Mr Openy is not optimistic at all and says the people are not happy. During the initial oil exploration in the park while prospecting for hydro carbons, locals and leaders did not know what was going on. “I don’t think we are going to benefit anything. Youth would come from Kampala to work here when we have our own. They used to bring everything from Kampala. Trucks used to bring vegetables for those people yet here we can grow vegetables,” Openy says in a bitter tone... At Anaka Sub County not far from Nwoya district headquarters, the sentiments are not any different.  Mr Opobo Geoffrey, the LC3 chairperson, said it was absurd that oil companies could not give their people simple jobs like security guards or drivers. “We do have those certified drivers here but they cannot get jobs there,” he said when asked if some of the locals were certified drivers. “We do not know anything that is going on there in the park. The only thing we know about Total is the scholarships some of our youth get. I so far have four students benefiting, but that is it,” he said.

Uganda: Govt. officers in oil-rich areas say they lack resources to monitor environmental impacts of oil exploration

18 Sep 2017 — "Leaders in Oil Rich Districts Want a Special Fund to Monitor Oil and Gas Activities" Globally, oil and gas activities are known for...[their] degrading and destructive effect on the environment. In Uganda, there are already fears that oil and gas activities in the Albertine graben could destroy the fragile ecosystem. This calls for increased close monitoring and early mitigation measures to be put in place. District leaders from the oil rich Albertine graben want government to establish a special fund dedicated to helping district environment officers to routinely monitor the impact of oil and gas activities on the environment and undertake early mitigation measures. Bulisa district chairman Mr Agaba Simon Kinene  said, “As a district, we are implementing oil and gas industry at zero budget, yet we are decentralized,” he said. The oil production phase, is expected to generate a lot of hazardous or non- hazardous waste. Therefore, district environment officers are expected to take a center in ensuring that all the oil waste generated and pollution are properly managed...Mr Philip Ngongaha, the District Environment Officer, Bulisa was bolder and called for the establishment of a fund to help them monitor oil and gas activities. He said currently, district environment officers lack facilitation to do their work. “We need a special fund to facilitate oil and gas monitoring,” Ngongaha argues. He argued that the fund would help the environment officers acquire modern equipment for monitoring. “You cannot expect an environment officer to monitor noise pollution using naked eyes. We require modern equipment,” he said

Uganda: Stop Child Labour Coalition working to end child labour, primarily in agribusiness & gold mining

15 Sep 2017 — "Out of work and into school" ‘Gold from children’s hands.’ Sounds nice, even poetic, but what kind of reaction does this statement elicit when you connect it with child labour? It is estimated that up to two million Ugandan children have been forced into child labour, mostly through conflicts often leading to internal displacement. On the 2017 World Day against Child Labour, the Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Janat Mukwaya, noted in her speech that 70 per cent of the children involved in child labour are in agriculture (source K-FM, Uganda).To counter these alarming statistics, Hivos has been on the frontline together with partners drawn from global and local organisations in Asia, Africa and Latin America through an umbrella coalition known as Stop Child Labour. By championing efforts under the tag line ‘Out of Work and into School’, the Stop Child Labour Coalition has forged collaborative efforts towards creating child labour free zones. This has been made possible by the active participation of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives, governments, international organisations and companies - all working towards one goal: ending all forms of child labour. In Uganda, the Coalition focused on the coffee and extractives (gold mining) sectors. Working in the West Nile in close collaboration with the Teachers Service Union (TSC) and a local NGO, a child labour free zone was established and extended to 13 villages. Similar efforts in Kasubi, Entebbe and Busia were able to take 3,705 children out of child labour.

Uganda: Oxfam urges fair compensation for locals who will be displaced for oil-pipeline construction

13 Sep 2017 — "Oxfam Urges Fair Compensation for Ugandan Oil-Pipeline Land" Uganda should fairly compensate landowners affected by a pipeline that will transport oil to an Indian Ocean port after accusations that some people reimbursed for earlier public projects were left worse-off, Oxfam International said. [It] said it’s concerned that “community participation, livelihoods and land rights could be overlooked in a quest to meet the schedule for land acquisition” for the 1,445-kilometer (898-mile) conduit that will link Uganda’s western oilfields with Tanga in Tanzania. Total SA, China’s Cnooc and London-based Tullow Oil Plc are developing Uganda’s estimated 6.5 billion barrels of oil resources, with the planned pipeline crossing eight districts and 296 kilometers in the country. “Oxfam is interested in seeing that extractives projects benefit host communities and that governments and citizens in resource-rich countries get a fair share of their natural resource wealth,” Gerald Byarugaba, extractive industries coordinator at the charity’s Ugandan office said. “Available information points to some irregularities that left some project-affected persons worse-off,” he said, referring to earlier government projects, without identifying them. [also refers to Gulf Interstate Engineering]

Ouganda: L'exploitation du pétrole favorise la ruée vers les terres, entrainant ainsi l'expulsion des paysans

12 Sep 2017 — "Comment un village ougandais tente de sauver ses terres de la ruée vers l’or noir", 10 septembre 2017 A l’ouest du pays, des parcelles entières font l’objet de convoitises, aiguisées par les futurs travaux d’infrastructures des pétroliers français et chinois...C’est dans ce camp de fortune que pendant plus de deux ans et demi, les 205 familles, soit plus de mille personnes, du petit village de Rwamutunga ont tenu bon, après leur expulsion. « La vie ici était pénible. Nous avons vécu de travaux occasionnels, cherchant de la nourriture ou un peu de monnaie », se souvient George, un habitant du village. « Au moins dix-huit personnes dans le camp sont mortes en raison des privations pendant cette période », ajoute-t-il...Total, la China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) ou encore Colas (filiale de Bouygues) y sont engagés dans de grands travaux d’infrastructures. Raffinerie, pipeline, et même aéroport international : le développement lié à l’extraction et au transport de l’or noir est porteur de beaucoup d’espoir pour le pays...pour réaliser ces projets, il faut des terres, beaucoup de terres...Et beaucoup de personnes tentent ainsi de s’arroger des droits sur les parcelles convoitées par les compagnies, pour se les faire racheter ensuite à prix d’or par l’Etat, seul à même de les acquérir pour les compagnies. C’est ce qu’explique Richard Orebi, coordinateur de Global Rights Alert, une ONG qui tente d’aider les villageois à obtenir les compensations légales. « Vous avez des terres qui n’appartiennent à personne depuis un siècle, et, d’un seul coup, quelqu’un affirme qu’il détient un certificat de propriété », s’ terres prévues pour héberger un centre de traitement des déchets pétroliers ont ainsi été accaparées par un gros propriétaire local...« C’était en août 2014, explique George. La police et les militaires sont venus au petit matin, et nous ont tous forcés à quitter nos maisons, se souvient-il. Ceux qui se sont opposés ont été battus. Les maisons ont été brûlées, saccagées. »...Mais la brutalité de l’intervention n’entame pas la solidarité des villageois. Aidés par des autorités locales et des ONG, ils avertissent les médias nationaux et se font assister par des avocats qui défendent leur cause devant la cour de moins 15 000 personnes auraient déjà été expulsées dans la région. Un vieux militant estime que ce chiffre pourrait même atteindre les 50 000. « Souvent, poursuit Richard Orebi, les compensations prévues mettent des années à arriver, ce qui plonge les habitants dans des situations très difficiles. Parce que, sans la terre, vous ne pouvez pas vous nourrir, ni payer les frais de scolarité de vos enfants. Ici, la terre, c’est la vie. »

Uganda: Govt. agency rejects sand harvesting bid by Mango Tree Group, says it would compromise livelihoods of communities near Lake Victoria

29 Aug 2017 — "Nema turns down Chinese investor’s sand mining bid" The National Environmental Authority (Nema) has rejected a proposal by a Chinese company to excavate sand along the shores of Lake Victoria at Kawuku in Nkumba Parish, Wakiso District. The company, Mango Tree Group Ltd, has since last year been in the spot over allegedly engaging in illegal sand mining activities in the area. The company directors, however, sought official clearance from Nema, to conduct commercial sand mining at three sites on the lake shores at Nkumba, next to Kimi Island in Mukono District and near Kavejanja –Buusi Island, Wakiso District. According to Nema Executive Director, Tom Okurut, the company’s activities have a negative impact on the eco-system on the lake shores, which would consequently affect the communities around Entebbe peninsular. In his June 1 letter to Mango Tree Group directors, Dr Okurut stressed that the sites proposed for dredging are either “refugia (an area where various organisms can hide during harsh conditions) and/or spawning grounds for fish...[T]he Nkumba and Buusi bay areas are targeted for cage fish farming so such a disturbance will impact fish stocks, the fishing industry, and consequently the livelihood of dependent communities,”

Uganda: Artisanal miners injured & lose property during violent eviction by govt. security agents to pave way for large investor

28 Aug 2017 — "Mubende miners count losses after ruthless eviction" Kawunde Patrick has been in the gold mining business for three years now...On the fateful morning of the Mubende mines eviction, he watched in horror as his livelihood was swept right from under his feet...On that fateful morning his boys were already in the pit working when he was ordered by angry soldiers to get them out and ensure no one stayed down. The miners had been given two hours – though most swear it was hardly an hour – to vacate the mines. Pandemonium reigned as over 50,000 people gathered whatever they could to flee...“Soldiers stopped me from taking anything. I lost three generators; three blowers that supply oxygen down the pit and four drilling machines...I watched as Sh16million of my capital was snatched out of my hands,” he said resignedly with tears welling up in his eyes. Mr Kawunde is just one of many artisanal miners that lost property and money during the eviction. “People left money in their houses as they fled,” said another miner who identified himself as just Alex. Alex was one of so many business people who fled off the gold value chain. He owned a lodge and bar. He had just spent Shs6million on iron sheets to construct more makeshift rooms. Like many others he left his iron sheets in the mines. “If I had not bought those sheets I would at least have something to start with. I left everything of mine in the mines. I have not changed clothes since we were evicted,” he said. In his State of the Nation address of 2015 President Museveni assured the miners in Mubende their plight would be addressed...This year, with the eviction looming, negotiations were ongoing as politicians shuffled between State House and Mubende...For now the miners are waiting and hoping that they will be allowed back to operate or at least seize opportunities if an investor starts operations.

Tanzania: Local communities to be impacted by large scale projects should be consulted prior to implementation

28 Aug 2017 — "How infrastructure projects impact the host communities" The construction of oil and gas infrastructure, dams, pipelines [and] processing plants has shown that the process is not without negative impacts to host communities...The situation is worse in poorly planned projects, which are often characterised by underestimation of social impacts... [In regard to the Uganda-Tanzania oil pipelinem, Mr. Raymond Njogoro, a resident of one of the host communities] expressed his concerns that adequate knowledge was required to educate the majority of host communities...[who] lacked knowledge about the project.

Uganda: Mining companies should ensure "conflict-sensitive" investment to avoid fuelling tensions, urges report

22 Aug 2017 — A report by Saferworld urges mining companies to think through their investment decisions to avoid creating or fuelling existing tensions in communities where mining is taking place.

Uganda: Call to avoid violent confrontation between security forces & local community over land allocated to Madhvani Group

15 Aug 2017 — "Breaking down the Amuru land conflict" A planned survey to secure 10,000 hectares of land for Madhvani Group to establish sugarcane plantation and sugar factory in the northern Amuru District aborted last week following nude protest by enraged women...[This article traces the history of the conflict between Madhvani Group and the local community]. The Madhvani Group initially showed interest in the land to establish a sugar factory, but local resistance forced the company to pull out. It sought the assistance of government to acquire the same. In the process, the government decided to bring the community on board. In 2008...[community representatives] sued Madhvani Group, Gen Julius Oketta and former district employee Ms Christine Atimango, and ex-Amuru Land Board Secretary Christine Atimango for wrongfully allocating communal land to private investors. High Court Judge William Musene...ordered the land be given to Madhvani Group. In 2015, the government signed an agreement with the Lamogi community of Kilak County, Amuru District, to withdraw the pending case at the Court of Appeal and pave the way for the establishment of the sugar factory by the Madhvani Group. President Museveni witnessed the signing of the agreement... A forcible survey exercise overseen by security forces and resistance by residents will likely explode in a confrontation, and result in bloodshed. Some of the dissenting leaders have proposed that the land owners form a Trust under which they will act as out growers and directly supply sugarcane to Madhvani Group, thereby earning constant income instead of mortgaging their land to the investor for a one-off compensation payment.