Posts Tagged ‘Foundation for Human Rights Initiative’

Human rights defenders’ offices in Uganda suffer from lack of security

April 12, 2013

The Ugandan Observer  reported that the NGO Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI)  has been the target of break-ins three times in five years at their Nsambya office. According to Livingstone Sewanyana, the executive director of FHRI, such break-ins and robberies don’t only demoralise them, but also have become a threat to the work and confidentiality of their documents in particular. “We don’t feel at ease when such events happen,” he says, “we have lost a lot of data and that’s a big threat to our work.” FHRI is not the only human rights defenders HRD organisation that has been broken into by unknown persons, taking documents and computers. Last December, the office of the Sexual Minorities of Uganda SMUG was broken into, with a lot of equipment stolen. A report assessing the environment in which human rights defenders operated last year, shows that actually, a host of civil society organisations were broken into – a fact seen as a way of crippling their operations in the country.  “HRDs, especially within the civil society, who draw attention to human rights violations sometimes have become visible targets susceptible to reprisals,” notes the recently-released Human Rights Defenders in Uganda report: “The Quest for A Better Working Environment, Vol II, 2012” (by the Human Rights Centre Uganda).

These cases are reported to police but according to Sewanyana, there has not been much help.“We have reported all these to police. We have written statements but not a single suspect has been arrested,” Ssewanyana told The Observer. However, Kampala Metropolitan Police Spokesperson Ibin Ssenkumbi says they have to follow due procedure. “Police is doing its work and when the investigations are done, the perpetrators will be brought to book,” he says.

via The Observer – Human rights defenders decry persecution.