Annual Report: Uganda 2009

Report
May 28, 2009

Annual Report: Uganda 2009

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Torture and other ill-treatment

Reports of torture and other ill-treatment committed by the police and other state security services, including in alleged secret detention centres, persisted. The Uganda Human Rights Commission’s 10th annual report recorded that people held in detention facilities were still tortured to the extent of sustaining serious wounds. There were no prosecutions of alleged perpetrators of torture and other ill-treatment and a significant number of the Commission’s compensation awards to victims of torture remained unpaid by the state.

Violence against women and girls

Violence against women and girls, including rape, marital rape, domestic violence, forced and early marriages, remained widespread in most parts of the country. Violence against women and girls was virtually never treated as a criminal offence. A number of proposed laws to address some forms of violence against women and girls remained pending. These included bills on Domestic Violence, Domestic Relations, Sexual Violence, and Trafficking in Persons.

Discrimination – lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people

There were continuing attacks on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and on human rights defenders working on LGBT rights.

Congolese refugees crossing the border in Ishasha, between DRC and Uganda. AI mission to Uganda and DRC, November 2008.
Congolese refugees crossing the border in Ishasha, between DRC and Uganda. AI mission to Uganda and DRC, November 2008.

 

In October, a government minister publicly labelled homosexuality and lesbianism a disease and declared that Uganda would seek to widen the scope of its legislation criminalizing homosexuality. In the month following the declaration, a number of LGBT activists and individuals were arrested and faced torture, including sexual assault, and other ill-treatment by police and security personnel while in detention.

  • In June, three LGBT human rights defenders were arbitrarily arrested and detained by police after distributing a press release to people attending a conference about HIV/AIDS policy implementation held in Kampala. They were charged with criminal trespass. The press release outlined the rights of LGBT people to treatment and prevention measures for HIV/AIDS.

Death penalty

Civilian courts continued to impose the death penalty but there were no executions. Military courts continued to hand down death sentences and order executions of soldiers in Uganda’s armed forces; it was not clear whether there were any executions.

In December Uganda voted against a UN General Assembly resolution calling for a worldwide moratorium on executions.

Amnesty International visits

Amnesty International delegates visited western Uganda in April and November and northern Uganda and Kampala in May and August.