In its brief history since Independence in 1962 the diverse peoples of Uganda have endured massive human rights abuses; firstly under the rule of Milton Obote, later under the infamous ldi Amin, then after a brief interlude, in Obote’s second regime.
While the abuses of Amin are well known, those under Obote were largely ignored by the international media and governments. This report seeks to fill the gap. It documents with objective clarity: ethnic or other persecution in the West Nile, Luwero Triangle (Buganda) and Karamoja areas; indiscriminate killing and looting by underpaid and undisciplined army troops; the forced creation of thousands of refugees in neighbouring countries and many thousands of displaced persons within Uganda itself; and torture and detention without trial.
Today, after the 1985 overthrow of the Obote government and after a brief interlude the assumption of power by the National Resistance Army of Yoweri Museveni, the situation is much improved. The army has been largely reorganized and disciplined, torture and ill-treatment, although sometimes used, is now condemned and punished; a Human Rights Commission has been established to research past violations and establish good practice for the future. Yet in some areas of the north, insurgency and military operations and repression of the civilian population continue and the U gandan economy and people are still desperately poor. Peace does not by itself create prosperity.
Uganda, Minority Rights Group report No 66, details and compares the past and present, drawing important lessons for the future. Written by Ed Hooper (Part I) and Louise Pirouette (Part II), it is a timely and instructive report – an essential document for policy makers; aid agencies, the media and all those concerned with the well-being of Uganda.