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Article

30 Mar 2020

Author:
Front Line Defenders (FLD)

Uganda: Harassment and arbitrary detention of land rights defenders in the Kiryandongo district

'Front Line Defenders condemns the continued harassment of land rights defenders in Kiryandongo', 30 March 2020

Front Line Defenders condemns the continued harassment and arbitrary detention of land rights defenders in the Kiryandongo district, which appears to be part of a pattern of reprisals for their activities mobilising local communities to defend their land rights and oppose the forced evictions perpetrated by the private companies Agilis Partners, Great Season Company Limited and Kiryandongo Sugar Limited, which have been implementing farming projects in the area. While land rights defenders Godfrey Ssebisolo, Erias Wanjala and Fred Mwawula are awaiting trial on charges of trespassing on private land, other defenders opposing the illegal activities of the three companies in Kiryandongo are being subjected to arbitrary arrests, judicial harassment, violent attacks and intimidation...

On 25 March 2020, in Nyamuntende, company agents from Kiryandongo Sugar Limited accompanied by four Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) soldiers entered the property of land rights defender Richard David Otyaluk with a tractor belonging to the company and plowed through 4 acres of his maize field. When Richard David Otyaluk tried to stop the tractor from destroying the crops, the soldiers detained and beat him. When land rights defender James Olupoti tried to take photos of the perpetrators of the attack, he was beaten and detained as well... On 21 March 2020, in Kisalanda village, land rights defender William Katusiime was attacked and beaten by an Agilis Partners company agent and a guard from Saracen, a private security company hired by Agilis Partners...

On 22 March 2020, Sipiriano Baluma, a land rights defender from Jerusalem village, was arrested and detained at Kimogola Police Station when he was trying to lodge a complaint regarding the destruction of his crops... On 19 March 2020, Martin Haweka, another defender from Jerusalem village who has been pressured by Great Season Company Limited to leave his land, was arbitrarily arrested at Kimogola Police Station while trying to open a case regarding the destruction of his crops by Great Season Company Limited...

Part of the following stories

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