Annual Report: Uganda 2006

May 28, 2006

Annual Report: Uganda 2006

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  • In February the Media Council banned the play The Vagina Monologues by the US playwright Eve Ensler, which several women’s organizations had planned to stage to raise awareness about violence against women.
  • In August the Uganda Broadcasting Council suspended the licence of K FM 93.3 Radio for a week after it broadcast a programme discussing the fatal helicopter crash that killed John Garang de Mabior, the Sudanese Vice President and Southern Sudanese leader, and seven Ugandan crew members. Andrew Mwenda, the programme’s host, was charged with sedition and released on bail. His trial had not been fixed by the end of the year, pending the outcome of a constitutional petition challenging the sedition laws.
  • On 17 November, policemen and intelligence personnel raided the offices of Monitor Publications, newspaper publishers and owners of K FM 93.3 Radio. The Monitor daily newspaper had run a paid advertisement from the FDC calling for contributions to a fund for the legal defence of political prisoners in Uganda. Police claimed the advertisement breached the law because the FDC had not obtained permission to fundraise.

On 22 November, the State Minister for Information and Broadcasting issued a directive to revoke the licence of any media outlet hosting discussion of cases before the courts. He added that as the trial of Dr Besigye had started, all talk shows or debates “in respect of or incidental to that case and other cases” were banned.

Conflict in northern Uganda

The 19-year conflict between the government and the LRA persisted throughout 2005. There were clashes between the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) and the LRA in Gulu, Pader, Kitgum, Lira and Apac districts.

At the end of August an estimated 1.4 million people were confined to Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps across northern Uganda. Overcrowding and poor sanitation rendered them vulnerable to outbreaks of disease, including cholera, while insecurity put them at risk of human rights abuses. In February, the government officially launched a National Policy for IDPs, which it said was based on international humanitarian law, human rights instruments and national laws.

The LRA extended its operations to daylight hours, contrary to its earlier practice, and continued to use road ambushes to attack civilians.

  • On 21 November, between seven and 10 LRA fighters ambushed a minibus taxi between Pader and Paiula in Pader district. Two civilians were killed instantly. Ten other civilians were removed from the vehicle, laid on the ground and executed. The vehicle was set on fire.

The LRA attacked the staff of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in conflict-affected areas, making humanitarian access hazardous.

  • On 26 October, in an LRA ambush on the Pader Pajule road, one staff member of the NGO Agency for Co-operation and Research in Development (ACORD) was killed and two others were wounded. In a separate incident on the same day, the LRA killed a staff member of the NGO CARITAS about eight kilometres from Kitgum town.

Civilians also suffered human rights violations at the hands of government soldiers.