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25 Aug 2020

Witness Radio

Uganda: Families violently evicted, land rights defenders criminalised, to make way for plantations

'Land grabs at gunpoint: Thousands of families are being violently evicted from their farms to make way for foreign-owned plantations in Kiryandongo, Uganda', August 25, 2020

Three multinational companies – Agilis Partners, Kiryandongo Sugar Limited and Great Season SMC Limited – are involved in grabbing land, violently evicting people from their homes and causing untold humiliation and grief to thousands of farming families residing in Kiryandongo district, Uganda… The local people are being displaced without notice, alternatives or even negotiations and are now desperately trying to save their homes and lives...

Community leaders say that the police have acted on Mwesigwa's orders to physically assault members of the community and to arbitrarily arrest and detain community land rights defenders… On 22 March 2020, Sipiriano Baluma, a resident of Jerusalem village, was arrested and detained at Kimogola Police Station when he tried to lodge a complaint against Great Season regarding the destruction of his crops... on 25 March 2020, in Nyamuntende, company agents from Kiryandongo Sugar, accompanied by four soldiers of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF), entered the property of land rights defender Richard David Otyaluk with a tractor belonging to the company and ploughed up his maize fields… the soldiers detained and beat him. They also beat and detained land rights defender James Olupoti who tried to photograph the attack… There they were tortured before being transferred to the Kiryandongo police station…

Part of the following timelines

Uganda: Environmental and land rights defenders face harassment and arrest for anti-eviction protests. Includes company responses

Threats & attacks on rights groups and land & environmental defenders in Uganda