In its brief history since its 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 Idi Amin, and 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, the situation is much improved after the 1985 overthrow of the Obote government and after a brief interlude of the assumption of power by the National Resistance Army of Yoweri Museveni. The army has been largely reorganized and disciplined; torture and ill-treatment, although sometimes used, are now condemned and punished; a Human Rights Commission has been established to research past violations and establish good practices for the future. Yet in some areas of the north, insurgency and military operations and repression of the civilian population continue, and the Ugandan economy and people are still desperately poor. Peace does not by itself create prosperity.
Uganda, Minority Rights Group report N°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 policymakers, aid agencies, the media and all those concerned with the well-being of Uganda.
Please note that the terminology in the fields of minority rights and indigenous peoples’ rights has changed over time. MRG strives to reflect these changes as well as respect the right to self-identification on the part of minorities and indigenous peoples. At the same time, after over 50 years’ work, we know that our archive is of considerable interest to activists and researchers. Therefore, we make available as much of our back catalogue as possible, while being aware that the language used may not reflect current thinking on these issues.