The Commissioner responsible for monitoring the human rights situation in the Republic of Uganda and Chairperson of the Working Group on the Death Penalty, Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions in Africa, the Honourable Commissioner Ndiamé Gaye and the Special Rapporteur on Prisons, Conditions of Detention and Policing in Africa, the Honourable Commissioner Maria Teresa Manuela (the Rapporteurs), acting pursuant to the provisions of Article 45 (2) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (the African Charter), note with concern the human rights violations that have occurred in the Republic of Uganda following the demonstrations on 19 November 2020 in Kampala and surrounding areas by supporters of Robert Kyagulanyi known as Bobi Wine, a singer and opposition candidate (National Unity Platform (NUP) party) to the presidential elections who demonstrated against his arrest and detention.Robert Kyagulanyi was accused of organising mass rallies in breach of the restrictions on gatherings imposed by the government to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
The Rapporteurs are deeply concerned about the loss of life, with 37 deaths and several injuries resulting, inter alia, from the excessive use of force, including the use of live ammunition, tear gas and water cannons by law enforcement authorities in suppressing and dispersing demonstrators. They also deplore the hundreds of arbitrary arrests and detentions that have ensued.
The Rapporteurs strongly condemn the excessive, abusive and disproportionate use of force against peaceful demonstrators and all other human rights violations that occurred and were widely reported in the domestic and international press.
The Rapporteurs call on the Ugandan authorities to take all necessary measures to put an end to the use of deadly weapons and to conduct impartial and independent investigations with a view to prosecuting and bringing the alleged perpetrators to justice. They note the release on bail of Mr Kyagulanyi and call on the government of Uganda to unconditionally release the other detained demonstrators, end arbitrary arrests and detentions and guarantee the right to a fair trial to the detained demonstratorsin the event of criminal offences.
The Rapporteurs further urge the authorities of the country to comply fully with regional and international standards on the use of force and firearms by law enforcement agencies.
The Rapporteurs remind the Government of Uganda of its obligations to guarantee the fundamental rights of its citizens, including the rights to life and physical integrity, liberty, access to justice and a fair trial, as well as the freedoms of expression, association and assembly as outlined in the provisions of articles 4, 6, 7, 9, 10 and 11 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and other relevant regional and international human rights instruments.
The Rapporteurs remain seized of the human rights situation in the Republic of Uganda.
Honourable Commissioner Ndiamé Gaye
Commissioner for Human Rights in the Republic of Uganda and Chairperson of the Working Group on the Death Penalty, Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions and Enforced Disappearances in Africa
Honourable Commissioner Maria Teresa Manuela
Special Rapporteur on Prisons, Conditions of Detention and Policing in Africa