The East African Journal of Peace and Human Rights (EAJPHR) invites submission of abstracts for papers for publication in our next Edition/Issue.
The EAJPHR is an international, peer-reviewed, bi-annual scholarly publication of the Human Rights and Peace Centre (HURIPEC) of the School of Law, Makerere University. The Journal has since its inception in 1993 remained at the forefront of igniting intellectual and policy debates on contemporary governance and human rights issues in the East African region and beyond. It seeks to provide a platform to scholars and practitioners in the fields of governance and human rights to disseminate cuttingedge research and share knowledge and experiences.
The abstracts which should not exceed 400 words should highlight recent trends, practices and emerging issues impacting on governance, human rights and fundamental freedoms with a view to produce a critical assessment of the same within the region.
Deadline for submission of abstracts is 30th June 2022. Authors of accepted abstracts will be required to submit full papers by 15 August 2022.
The Human Rights and Peace Centre will in conjunction with the Human Rights Watch host a Symposium on Unlawful Detention in Uganda. The event is scheduled to take place on the 30th day of June 2022, at the School of Law, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda, starting at 2pm.
Among the panelists for the discussion include the Hon. Winnie Kiiza (Former Leader of Opposition, Interim Committee Member, Alliance for National Transformation), Brig. Gen. Felix Kulayigye (Spokesperson, Uganda People’s Defence Forces), Dr. Zahara Nampewo (Director, HURIPEC) and Kenneth Roth (Executive Director, Human Rights Watch). Prof. Joe Oloka – Onyango (Law Don, Makerere University, School of Law) will moderate the panel discussion while Dr. Busingye (Law Don, Makerere University, School of Law) will deliver the key note address.
The event will be adopting a hybrid mode of presentation, requiring both physical attendance at the university premises and will also be streamed via Zoom and YouTube.
The Multi Stakeholder Engagement on Militarisation, Sustainable Growth and Peace in Uganda, that took place on the 17th day of November 2021 has been featured in the media. The story has been run on one of the local dailies.
The School of Law through its Human Rights and Peace Centre (HURIPEC) on the 15th June, 2021 (Tuesday) hosted a roundtable discussion with senior officials of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) under the theme: “Security in Development: Exploring Uganda’s Sectors of Economic Growth”.
Looking at the intersectionality of security, peace and development, the meeting explored specifically the role of the UPDF in advancing Uganda’s National Development aspirations and more broadly its contribution in the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals particularly Goal No. 16. With growing debate on the involvement of military in a number of sectors in Uganda such as, agriculture (Operation Wealth Creation), the wildlife and forest conservation (UWA & NFA), the water resource sector (fisheries) and, the oil and mineral resources (MPPU), there is hardly any scholarly analysis on such phenomenon, a gap that HURIPEC seeks to bridge.
The UPDF established under the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, 1995, Article 208 and Article 209 (b) is required to cooperate with civilian authority such as Police and as provided in the UPDF Act, engage in productive activities. This meeting explored further the nature, contributions, impact and effectiveness of the military interventions in the ‘security in development’ discourse. Interestingly, the increasing shift of the UPDF from its primary role in defending the territorial integrity of the State to its vivid involvement in development sectors needs a much deeper analysis and inquiry particularly on the aspects of functionality of such sector institutions. The temptation to engage in the national economy beyond the traditional defense economy partly lies in the question of national interests one of which is building strong institutions including the military.
The roundtable comprised of; HURIPEC team namely; Prof. Christopher Mbazira (Principal School of Law), Dr. Ronald Naluwiro (Deputy Principal School of Law), Dr. Zahara Nampewo (Director, HURIPEC), Dr. Namwase Sylvie (Post-Doc Researcher) and Jackson Odong (Associate Researcher). The UPDF officials comprised of; Major General Henry Masiko, (Chief Political Commissar and the UPDF representative to Parliament), Brig Gen Godard Busingye (Chief of Legal Services at the Ministry of Defence and Veteran Affairs and UPDF) and Brig Gen. Felix Kulayigye, (Outgoing Member of Parliament representing UPDF and newly deployed to Operation Wealth Creation)
Human Rights and Peace Centre (HURIPEC) will on the 8th day of December 2020 (Tuesday) launch the second issue of Volume 26 of the East African Journal of Peace and Human Rights (EAJPHR Vol. 26, No.2) of 2020, a special issue journal on COVID 19 and freedom of expression, assembly and access to information.
The launch will take place at an event organised by HURIPEC in partnership with the American Bar Association, Rule of Law Initiative (ABA) and Makerere University at Mestil Hotel in Kampala, starting at 9:00 am – 1:00 pm.
It will take place both by physical presence (where stakeholders will attend on invite), and live digital platform on Zoom (via Meeting ID: 99201337090, Password 604745) and Facebook Live on the HURIPEC Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/HURIPEC), and the people are invited to contribute and follow the conversation via the hashtag #LaunchEAJ2020.
The Guest of Honour will the Chief Justice of Uganda, Hon. Chief Justice Aphonse Owiny – Dollo.
The Human Rights and Peace Centre (HURIPEC) has a released statement titled “Violence, Excessive Use of Force and Blatant Violations of Human Rightsduring the Electoral Process in November 2020” condemning the actions of several state actors in November 2020, especially following the arrest of President of the National Unity Platform (NUP) Robert Kyagulanyi and President of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) Hon. Eng. Patrick Amuriat Oboi (both presidential candidates in Uganda seeking to overthrow the incumbent and candidate for another term H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni) on the 18th day of November 2020.
Below is the statement by Dr. Zahara Nampewo, the Director of HURIPEC.
The Human Rights and Peace Centre (HURIPEC), a university based centre at Makerere University School of Law. HURIPEC works for the achievement of democratic values, peace and human rights in Uganda. Based on this, HURIPEC is concerned about the events that the nation has witnessed over the last few weeks during the electoral process of 2020. This is especially in respect of the actions of key State actors following the arrest and detention of presidential candidates Hon. Robert Sentamu Kyagulanyi and Hon. Eng. Patrick Amuriat Oboi on 18 November 2020.
This period has been dominated by a series of disturbing events. We have seen the country’s worst unrest in a decade. We have seen the State and its law enforcement agencies respond in a brutal and often excessive manner to citizens’ demands for release of, or access to their presidential candidates during the campaign period. During this period, the Police and other security agencies have done the following: (a) restricted some opposition candidates from accessing their campaign venues; (b) used excessive force, including live ammunition and copious amounts of tear gas resulting in the loss of life and injuries; (c) destruction of property in the process; (d) arresting and imprisoning many people, some without charge.
While the State has a duty to ensure law and order, the State is also obliged to respect, promote, protect, and fulfill the rights of its citizens as enshrined in the 1995 Constitution and other regional and international treaties to which Uganda is a signatory.
HURIPEC is particularly concerned about the presence of non-uniformed security personnel shooting at citizens with impunity and in utter disregard of the law. . Article 212 (a) and (b) of the Constitution lists the functions of the Uganda Police Force to include protection of life and property, and preservation of law and order. Similarly, Article 208(2) obliges the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces to be non-partisan, professional, disciplined and subordinate to civilian authority. In fact, the Constitution under Article 209 (c) lists one of the functions of the UPDF as ‘to foster harmony and understanding between the defence forces and civilians’.
We have witnessed actions to the contrary where security forces have been involved in the taking rather than preservation of civilian lives. In attempting to fulfill its obligations of preservation of law and order in the last few weeks, the State has instead used excessive force resulting in the infringement of some of the fundamental rights enshrined in Chapter 4 of the Constitution. The rights include the freedom of assembly (Art. 29 (1)(d), freedom of speech and expression (Art. 29(1)(a), freedom of movement, right to access prompt, fair and timely justice and freedom from inhuman and degrading treatment.
Article 22(1) of our Constitution states:
No person shall be deprived of life intentionally except in execution of a sentence passed in a fair trial by a court of competent jurisdiction in respect of a criminal offence under the laws of Uganda and the conviction and sentence have been confirmed by the highest appellate court.
The actions of law enforcement in a bid to quell demonstrations in different locations in the country resulted into deprivation of lives in circumstances that are questionable. The Spokesperson of the Uganda Police Force put the death toll at 45. A police report indicates that a total of 116 cases involving riots were registered in the country between November 18 and 20 2020. 836 suspects were arrested, of whom 362 suspects were charged, 330 were remanded, 32 released on court bail while one was released on police bond and 633 in police custody pending court (Monitor Newspaper, 24 Nov 2020).
Sadly, one life lost is one life too many.
According to the United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by law enforcement officials, whenever the lawful use of force and firearms is unavoidable, law enforcement officials should exercise restraint and use force in proportion to the seriousness of the offence and the legitimate objective to be achieved. They should minimize damage and injury, and respect and preserve human life. Moreover, a threat to property alone cannot justify the use of firearms against another person. In using force, officials should: “as far as possible, apply non-violent means before resorting to the use of force and firearms. They may use force and firearms only if other means remain ineffective or without any promise of achieving the intended result.”
The same principles guide that:
“Governments and law enforcement agencies should develop a range of means as broad as possible and equip law enforcement officials with various types of weapons and ammunition that would allow for a differentiated use of force and firearms. These should include the development of non-lethal incapacitating weapons for use in appropriate situations, with a view to increasingly restraining the application of means capable of causing death or injury to persons.”
The use of force by security forces during this electoral period indicates a lack of State policy on differentiated use of force and de-escalation. It showed a lack of restraint and precaution which resulted in the arbitrary deprivation of the right to life of many Ugandans.
HURIPEC has observed the events of the past weeks with deep concern and condemnation on the use of excessive force by the Police, UPDF and other security agencies and we call upon the State to take critical measures to address the key issues raised by the public on the electoral process so as to avert further violence and instability in the country. In particular, we wish to register our deep concern regarding:
The use of excessive force and especially the use of live ammunition to quell demonstrations, indiscriminate physical assaults on civilians, spraying of vast amounts of tear gas upon crowds occasioning loss of life and property, severe injuries and pain including upon innocent children, by standers, those at work and urban dwellers. We are greatly concerned that rather than enjoy state protection, citizens are preoccupied with defending themselves against its wrath;
The brutality of officers of the Uganda Police Force, Uganda Peoples Defence Forces and other security operatives in handling the civilian protests;
The intimidation of human rights defenders who have spoken out on various issues of concern including the declining space for engagement;
The attack on journalists, which has involved beatings, pepper spraying, confiscation of equipment and arrests and detention without charge;
Censorship of the media and a curtailing of press freedom and freedom of expression, including intimidation and security threats to journalists and media houses carrying out their duty as a watchdog of the state and provider of information to the public;
Contrary to the public appeal for the perpetrators of violence to be brought to justice, the Minister for Security defended the use of brutal force and praised security forces for the “decisiveness” with which they quelled what he called “premediated riots” across the country. Such responses from government risk promoting impunity and provocation.
The increased militarization of the State and use of armed forces to enforce law and order and quell peaceful protests which heightens risks of violent conflict and will affect the entire population of Uganda including men, women and children.
HURIPEC calls upon the Government to respect, promote, protect, and fulfill the rights of its citizens as enshrined in the 1995 Constitution. Government must recognize that the language of force and violence is counterproductive to the harnessing of peace and security.
We call upon the heads of security agencies in Uganda to prevail over serving officers to desist from acts of torture, shooting, cruel and inhuman treatment of the people of Uganda. We also caution against the unfair targeting of some politicians involved in their campaign processes as this fuels a trigger for violence and protests. Errant officers should be duly prosecuted.
We further call upon concerned actors within the Justice Law and Order Sector including the Judiciary, Directorate of Public Prosecution and Uganda Human Rights Commission to initiate thorough, prompt and impartial investigations into the human rights violations committed by the security forces.
We also call upon government to thoroughly review the national laws on the use of force and align them with international standards including clear enforcement measures.
Finally, we call upon the public to remain peaceful in the pursuit of various rights during this electoral period and to desist from violent actions and violations of the human rights of others such as undressing women and attacking security personnel.
The Human Rights and Peace Centre (HURIPEC) will be launching the Second Issue of Volume 26 of the East Africa Journal of Peace and Human Rights 2020 (EAJPHR Vol. 26 Issue 2, 2020), next week, after releasing the previous Issue One, that is currently available for purchase in both physical and digital copies
The Director of HURIPEC, Dr. Zahara Nampewo has authored the Foreword to the yet to be released Journal that focuses on the rights “Freedom of Expression, Assembly and Information”, and has been availed earlier, prior to the launch, to give readers insight into the Journal. Once the Journal is launched next week, it will be available for download on the website via online HURIPEC shop and physical copies from the department’s office at the School of Law, Makerere University.
Foreword by Dr. Zahara Nampewo.
The right to freedom of expression, assembly, information and association are some of the fundamental rights to humanity. The international community has recognized the importance of these rights in several human rights instruments such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Similarly, many counties across Africa have translated these provisions into their national constitutions. Whereas this is a commendable development, in the recent years, the ability of citizens, academics, activists and the media to express themselves freely without intimidation has become increasingly curtailed, with these groups facing daily threats to their physical security for exercising their basic civil and political rights. Many are arbitrarily arrested and detained or otherwise intimidated for expressing opinions on social, political and economic issues.
It is notable that traditional methods of undermining freedom of expression, assembly, information and association are being replaced with new ones. In an ever-evolving political and technological landscape, there are new challenges that are threatening the enjoyment of these freedoms on the continent. For instance, governments are aware of the fact that old forms of media repression do not necessarily work: they attract international attention, bad press, and can unsettle a regime. As a result, they are adopting subtler forms of control to undermine press freedom. In this regard, several governments have made various attempts to use new laws to control these freedoms. All have raised arguments relating to public security and order to defend draconian legislation that criminalises free speech online. These can sometimes be even more insidious because they pass unnoticed. Uganda and Tanzania as two of the countries represented in this journal issue have not been spared by this regressive conduct.
In directly challenging the relapse in the enjoyment of the said four freedoms especially in light of the Covid-19 pandemic which has introduced new limits on expression and enjoyment of rights generally, the Human Rights and Peace Centre (HURIPEC) in partnership with the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA-ROLI) issued this special edition of the East African Journal for Peace and Human Rights (EAJPHR) to highlight recent trends, practices and emerging issues in the region impacting on the enjoyment of these freedoms with a focus on the situation in Uganda and Tanzania. This publication examines the state to which the rights to freedom of expression, association, information and assembly are respected by the countries in the East African region and beyond. It is part of HURIPEC’s effort to contribute to a society that respects and protects fundamental human rights.
We hope that the trends, practices and emerging highlighted herein will help to elevate the attention of the importance of these freedoms and influence policy and law reform for improved governance generally in the region.
Director / Managing Editor East African Journal on Peace and Human Rights Human Rights and Peace Centre (HURIPEC) School of Law Makerere University