Africans of three main ethnic groups--Bantu, Nilotic, and Nilo-Hamitic--constitute most of the population. The Bantu are the most numerous and include the Baganda, which, with about 3 million members (18% of the population), constitute the largest-single ethnic group.
The people of the southwest comprise 30% of the population, divided into five major ethnic groups: the Banyankole and Bahima,10%; the Bakiga, 8%; the Banyarwanda, 6%; the Bunyoro, 3%; and the Batoro, 3%). Residents of the north, largely Nilotic, are the next largest group, including the Langi, 6% and the Acholi, 4%. In the northwest are the Lugbara, 4%, and the Karamojong, 2% occupy the considerably drier, largely pastoral territory in the northeast. Europeans, Asians, and Arabs make up about 1% of the population with other groups accounting for the remainder.
Uganda's population is predominately rural, and its density is highest in the southern regions. Until 1972, Asians constituted the largest nonindigenous ethnic group in Uganda. In that year, the Idi Amin regime expelled 50,000 Asians, who had been engaged in trade, industry, and various professions. In the years since Amin's overthrow in 1979, Asians have slowly returned. About 3,000 Arabs of various national origins and small numbers of Asians live in Uganda. Other nonindigenous people in Uganda include several hundred Western missionaries and a few diplomats and businesspeople.
When Arab traders moved inland from their enclaves along the Indian Ocean coast of East Africa and reached the interior of Uganda in the 1830s, they found several African kingdoms with well-developed political institutions dating back several centuries. These traders were followed in the 1860s by British explorers searching for the source of the Nile River. Protestant missionaries entered the country in 1877, followed by Catholic missionaries in 1879.
In 1888, control of the emerging British "sphere of interest" in East Africa was assigned by royal charter to the Imperial British East Africa Company, an arrangement strengthened in 1890 by an Anglo-German agreement confirming British dominance over Kenya and Uganda. The high cost of occupying the territory caused the company to withdraw in 1893, and its administrative functions were taken over by a British commissioner. In 1894, the Kingdom of Buganda was placed under a formal British protectorate.
Britain granted internal self-government to Uganda in 1961, with the first elections held on March 1, 1961. Benedicto Kiwanuka of the Democratic Party became the first Chief Minister. Uganda maintained its Commonwealth membership.
In succeeding years, supporters of a centralized state vied with those in favor of a loose federation and a strong role for tribally based local kingdoms. Political maneuvering climaxed in February 1966, when Prime Minister Milton Obote suspended the constitution, assumed all government powers, and removed the president and vice president. In September 1967, a new constitution proclaimed Uganda a republic, gave the president even greater powers, and abolished the traditional kingdoms. On January 25, 1971, Obote's government was ousted in a military coup led by armed forces commander Idi Amin Dada. Amin declared himself president, dissolved the parliament, and amended the constitution to give himself absolute power.
Idi Amin's 8-year rule produced economic decline, social disintegration, and massive human rights violations. The Acholi and Langi tribes were particular objects of Amin's political persecution because Obote and many of his supporters belonged to those tribes and constituted the largest group in the army. In 1978, the International Commission of Jurists estimated that more than 100,000 Ugandans had been murdered during Amin's reign of terror; some authorities place the figure much higher.
In October 1978, Tanzanian armed forces repulsed an incursion of Amin's troops into Tanzanian territory. The Tanzanian force, backed by Ugandan exiles, waged a war of liberation against Amin's troops and Libyan soldiers sent to help him. On April 11, 1979, Kampala was captured, and Amin fled with his remaining forces.
After Amin's removal, the Uganda National Liberation Front formed an interim government with Yusuf Lule as president. This government adopted a ministerial system of administration and created a quasi-parliamentary organ known as the National Consultative Commission (NCC). The NCC and the Lule cabinet reflected widely differing political views. In June 1979, following a dispute over the extent of presidential powers, the NCC replaced President Lule with Godfrey Binaisa. In a continuing dispute over the powers of the interim presidency, Binaisa was removed in May 1980. Thereafter, Uganda was ruled by a military commission chaired by Paulo Muwanga. The December 1980 elections returned the UPC to power under the leadership of President Obote, with Muwanga serving as vice president. Under Obote, the security forces had one of the world's worst human rights records. In their efforts to stamp out an insurgency led by Yoweri Museveni's National Resistance Army (NRA), they lay waste to a substantial section of the country, especially in the Luwero area north of Kampala.
Obote ruled until July 27, 1985, when an army brigade, composed mostly of Acholi troops and commanded by Lt. Gen. Basilio Olara-Okello, took Kampala and proclaimed a military government. Obote fled to exile in Zambia. The new regime, headed by former defense force commander Gen. Tito Okello (no relation to Lt. Gen. Olara-Okello), opened negotiations with the insurgent forces of Yoweri Museveni and pledged to improve respect for human rights, end tribal rivalry, and conduct free and fair elections. In the meantime, massive human rights violations continued as the Okello government murdered civilians and ravaged the countryside in order to destroy the NRA's support.
Negotiations between the Okello government and the NRA were conducted in Nairobi in the fall of 1985, with Kenyan President Daniel Moi seeking a cease-fire and a coalition government in Uganda. Although agreeing in late 1985 to a cease-fire, the NRA continued fighting, seized Kampala in late January 1986, and assumed control of the country, forcing Okello to flee north into Sudan. Museveni's forces organized a government with Museveni as president.
Since assuming power, the government dominated by the political grouping created by Museveni and his followers, the National Resistance Movement (NRM), has largely put an end to the human rights abuses of earlier governments, overseen the successful efforts of a human rights commission established to investigate previous abuses, initiated substantial political liberalization and general press freedom, and instituted broad economic reforms after consultation with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, and donor governments. A constitutional commission was named to draft a new constitution, which was debated and ratified by a popularly elected constituent assembly on July 12, 1995, and promulgated by President Museveni on October 8, 1995.
Under the transitional provisions of the new constitution, the "movement system" will continue for 5 years, including explicit restrictions on activities of political parties, which are nonetheless active. The Constitution also called for a referendum in 2000 to determine whether or not Uganda will adopt a multi-party system of democracy. The referendum was held in March 2000 and by a margin of 70% voters asked to keep the Movement system; the referendum was widely criticized for its low voter turnout and lack of a level playing field.
Insurgent groups--the largest (Lord's Resistance Army) of which used to receive support from Sudan--harass government forces and murder and kidnap civilians in the north and west. They do not, however, threaten the stability of the government. Uganda resumed diplomatic relations with Sudan in 2001, agreeing to reopen missions and exchange diplomats up to the Charge level. The two countries are now planning to resume full diplomatic relations and exchange ambassadors.
In 1998, Uganda deployed a sizable military force to eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), ostensibly to prevent attacks from Ugandan rebel groups operating from bases in eastern DRC, the treat from which has largely been contained..
The country's population was approximately 24.6 million. The economy grew at a rate of approximately 5.6 percent during the year. Approximately 40 percent of total GDP was in agriculture, and foreign economic assistance accounted for approximately 48 percent of the total government expenditure. Foreign investment fell slightly during the year but remained close to 4 percent of GDP. Corruption was a major problem but indicators showed positive changes during the year. For example, Parliament created a Local Government Account Committee, which pursued local officials over financial issues raised in government audits. Parliament also passed the Ethics Bill, which requires the declaration of wealth by government officials and their family members. The privatization of state-owned enterprises continued.
In the late 1980s, Ugandan officials estimated that 66 percent of the population was Christian--almost equally divided among Protestants and Roman Catholics. Approximately 15 percent of Ugandans were Muslims. Roughly 19 percent of the people professed belief in local religions or denied any religious affiliation. The basic tenets of all religions--that a spiritual realm exists and that spiritual and physical beings can influence one another--permeated much of Ugandan society. World religions and local religions had coexisted for more than a century, and many people established a coherent set of beliefs about the nature of the universe by combining elements of the two. Except in a few teachings, world religions were seldom viewed as incompatible with local religions.
Throughout Uganda's colonial and postcolonial history, religious identity has had economic and political implications. Church membership has influenced opportunities for education, employment, and social advancement. As a result, the distinction between material and spiritual benefits of religion has not been considered very important, nor have the rewards of religious participation been expected to arrive only in an afterlife.
INCIDENCE OF CRIME
Patterns in criminal behavior and arrests have often reflected Uganda's economic and political setting. During the colonial period, most arrests were for murder, rape, robbery, and, on occasion, treason. People were also imprisoned for failing to pay taxes. After Uganda gained independence, however, crime patterns slowly shifted to involve more violent crimes. Attacks by bands of armed robbers (kondos) became common in urban areas. Then in the 1970s, this pattern shifted to emphasize political crimes. Many arrests and executions were not recorded, and statistics were unavailable.
Uganda's parliament tried to stop the rise of organized violent crime in 1968, amending the 1930 Penal Code to mandate the death penalty for those convicted of armed robbery. Parliament also amended the criminal procedure code to require ex-convicts to carry identity cards and to present these cards at police stations at regular intervals. A few months later, the government passed the Public Order and Security Act, authorizing the president, or a delegated minister, to detain indefinitely anyone whose actions were judged prejudicial to national defense or security. After 1970 the government increased its reliance on this act to detain political opponents.
Following the overthrow of the second Obote regime in 1985, the government freed about 1,200 prisoners held under the Public Order and Security Act. Some abuses still continued
The crime rate in Uganda is low compared to industrialized countries (with the exception of murder). An analysis was done using INTERPOL data for Uganda. For purpose of comparison, data were drawn for the seven offenses used to compute the United States FBI's index of crime. Index offenses include murder, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft. The combined total of these offenses constitutes the Index used for trend calculation purposes. Uganda will be compared with Japan (country with a low crime rate) and USA (country with a high crime rate). While Uganda data were available, 2001 data were used for Japan and USA, since Uganda data had not yet been submitted to INTERPOL for those two countries. According to the INTERPOL data, for murder, the rate in Uganda was 10.25 per 100,000 population for Uganda, 1.05 for Japan, and 5.61 for USA. For rape, the rate in 2001 was 1.88 for Uganda, compared with 1.75 for Japan and 31.77 for USA. For robbery, the rate in 2001 was 6.11 for Uganda, 5.02 for Japan, and 148.50 for USA. For aggravated assault, the rate in 2001 was 21.03 for Uganda, 26.68 for Japan, and 318.55 for USA. For burglary, the rate in Uganda was 16.84 for Uganda, 238.59 for Japan, and 740.80 for USA. The rate of larceny for 2002 was 2.2 for Uganda, 1550.41 for Japan, and 2484.64 for USA. The rate for motor vehicle theft in 2002 was 5.48 for Uganda, compared with 49.71 for Japan and 430.64 for USA. The rate for all index offenses combined was 63.79 for Uganda, compared with 1873.21 for Japan and 4160.51 for USA.
TRENDS IN CRIME
Between 1995 and 2002, according to INTERPOL data, the rate of murder increased from 8.55 to 10.25 per 100,000 population, an increase of 19.9%. The rate for rape decreased from 12.52 to 1.88, a decrease of 85%. The rate of robbery decreased from 12.93 to 6.11, a decrease of 52.7%. The rate for aggravated assault increased from 16.40 to 21.03, an increase of 28.2%. The rate for burglary increased from 14.47 to 16.84, an increase of 16.4%. The rate of larceny decreased from 46.20 to 2.20, a decrease of 95.2%. The rate of motor vehicle theft increased from 3.50 to 5.48, an increase of 56.6%. The rate of total index offenses decreased from 114.57 to 63.79, a decrease of 44.3%.
When Britain assumed control of Uganda, the judicial system consisted of a number of local authorities, tribal chiefs, and kin group elders, who worked primarily to enforce local customary law. Islamic law was also practiced in areas of northern Uganda. During the twentieth century, British jurisprudence was gradually imposed, spreading more quickly across the south than the north. At independence the resulting legal system consisted of the High Court, which heard cases involving murder, rape, treason, and other crimes punishable by death or life imprisonment; and subordinate magistrates' courts, which tried cases for crimes punishable by shorter terms of imprisonment, fines, or whipping. Magistrates' court decisions could be appealed to the High Court. All courts had the privilege of rendering "competent verdicts," whereby a person accused of one offense could also be convicted of a minor, related offense.
After independence the director of public prosecutions (DPP), appointed by the president, prosecuted criminal cases. Under the attorney general's direction, the DPP initiated and conducted criminal proceedings other than courts-martial. The DPP also could appoint a public prosecutor for a specific case. In some cases, a police official was the prosecutor, and the DPP reviewed and commented on the trial proceedings.
The legal system virtually broke down during the 1970s, in part because Amin undermined the judicial system when it attempted to oppose him. In March 1971, for example, when Amin granted the security forces the right to "search and arrest," they implemented the decree to harass political opponents. The courts were then blocked from rendering verdicts against security agents through a second decree granting government officials immunity from prosecution. By absolving soldiers and police of any legal accountability, Amin unleashed a reign of terror on the civilian population that lasted eight years.
The end of Amin's regime brought no significant improvement in the criminal justice system. In an effort to reassert the rule of law, in June 1984 the government prohibited the army from arresting civilians suspected of opposition to the government, and it allowed prisoners, for the first time in over a decade, to appeal to the government for their release from prison. The army ignored the 1984 law, however, and continued to perpetrate crimes against the civilian population.
When Museveni became president in 1986, he pledged to end the army's tyranny and reform the country's criminal justice system. He succeeded in granting greater autonomy to the courts, but the NRA also arrested several thousand suspected opponents during counterinsurgency operations in northern and eastern Uganda. In late 1988, the NRC passed a constitutional amendment giving the president the power to declare any region of the country to be in a "state of insurgency." Subsequent legislation allowed the government to establish separate courts in these areas, authorized the military to arrest insurgents, permitted magistrates to suspend the rules of evidence to allow hearsay and uncorroborated evidence in the courtroom, and shifted the burden of proof from the accuser to the accused.
The legal system that existed in 1990 included customary, and in some cases Islamic, law in addition to statutory law. Statutory law was published in the government Gazette. The constitution provided for a High Court with a chief justice and as many other judges as parliament decided to create. It empowered the president to appoint High Court judges, although it allowed him to choose only the chief justice without following the advice of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), which was headed by the chief justice. The constitution restricted the choice of judges to those already presiding over courts of unlimited jurisdiction or to lawyers who had practiced for five years before such courts. The High Court heard appeals from magistrates' courts located in each district. In addition, the High Court acted as the court of first instance in questions involving elections to or vacancies in parliament. The 1967 constitution also declared that decisions of the High Court could be appealed to the Court of Appeal for Eastern Africa (CAEA), or to a new court of appeal established by parliament.
With the collapse of the East African Community (EAC) in 1977, the Ugandan government withdrew from the CAEA and created a national Court of Appeal. In 1980 the government made the chief justice the head of the High Court only and appointed a separate president of the Court of Appeal. These changes led to problems in the administration of justice during the next several years. The problems stemmed primarily from the anomalous position of a chief justice constitutionally restricted to be head of an inferior court. To eliminate these problems, the NRM government introduced the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 1987, and the Judicature Act (Amendment) Bill, 1987, which the NRC passed in August 1987. The name of the Court of Appeal was changed to the Supreme Court of Uganda. The chief justice became its head and the chief administrator of the judiciary. Two new positions were created, a deputy chief justice of the Supreme Court and a principal judge, who became head of the High Court. Appeals from any decision of the High Court were to be referred to the Supreme Court. To be appointed judge of the Supreme Court, a person must have qualified and served as judge of the High Court for at least seven years. Power to appoint the justices and chief justice of the Supreme Court was placed in the hands of the president. Following the precedent of the 1967 Constitution, the president had to accept the advice of the JSC except in the appointment of the chief justice. The deputy chief justice was to be appointed from among the principal judge and justices of the Supreme Court.
In 1988 the NRM government substantially changed grass-roots adjudication by giving judicial powers over civil disputes, which up until then had been exercised by chiefs, to elected resistance committees in each village, parish, and subcounty. In the past, despite their pretense of neutrality, chiefs had often discriminated against opponents of the ruling party or military government. The new local court system responded to the first point in the Ten-Point Program by placing petty and customary conflicts in the hands of democratically chosen officials. The new system also received broad popular support, according to a commission of inquiry into local government.
Each elected resistance committee was empowered to constitute itself as a court headed by the chair of the committee. If some of the committee members were absent, other members of the resistance council that had elected the committee could be coopted . Cases involving contracts, debts, or assault and battery could be heard only if they involved less than USh5,000, a relatively small sum. However, other civil disputes concerning conversion or damage to property or trespassing, and customary disputes involving land held by customary tenure, the marital status of women, the paternity of children, customary heirs, impregnation of or elopement with a female under age eighteen, and customary bail procedures could be heard regardless of amount. The orders that these courts had the power to make ranged from apology and reconciliation to compensation or attachment and sale. Appeals went to the next higher resistance committee and eventually to the High Court.
One of the most important stated objectives of the NRM government was to restore the rule of law. Toward that end, three commissions were either revived or created. The Commission for Law Reform, which had been established in the Ministry of Justice during the Amin government but had been ineffective for lack of financial resources and because of instability, was given a fresh start with the appointment of Justice Matthew Opu of the High Court as commissioner in 1986. The Commission for Law Revision, which had the task of clearing the laws of statutes that had been repealed or had become obsolete and of adding consequential amendments, was revived. The Commission of Inquiry into the Violation of Human Rights was created in 1986 to establish the human rights record from independence up to the take-over by the NRM government. A High Court justice, Arthur Oder, and five other commissioners began public hearings on human rights violations in December 1986.
Ugandan police history began in 1900 when Special Commissioner Sir Harry Johnston established the Armed Constabulary with 1,450 Africans under the command of British district officers. In 1906 the Protectorate Police replaced the constabulary, and the colonial government appointed an inspector general as the commanding officer of all police detachments.
Although created as a civilian force, the police frequently carried out military duties. In 1907, for example, police detachments participated in internal security operations in the western kingdom of Toro and the eastern district of Bugisu. To support this expanded role, colonial authorities enlarged the Protectorate Police, and in 1908 they opened a fingerprinting bureau in Kampala. By 1912 the police operated fifteen stations and possessed a small criminal investigation division, a countrywide heliograph signal system, and a small bicycle pool for transport. The police continued their paramilitary functions, patrolling border areas between Uganda and German East Africa (later Tanzania) during World War I and patrolling Karamoja District to suppress cattle raiding and border skirmishes.
After 1918 the police became a more traditional internal security force. Most of their work involved homicide investigations; traffic control; and supervision of vehicle, bicycle, and trade licenses. Worldwide economic depression caused the colonial government to reduce the size of the police force from its 1926 level of 33 officers and inspectors with 1,368 in the rank and file to 37 officers and inspectors with 1,087 rank and file.
At the outbreak of World War II, the police again undertook military duties. In 1939 the protectorate police dispatched a garrison to Lokitaung, Kenya; arrested German nationals in Uganda; and provided security at key installations. In addition, the police assumed responsibility for operating and guarding camps for detained aliens. Many members of the police force also served in British army units in East Africa and in overseas operations. After World War II, the colonial authorities expanded the police force, and in July 1954, the Legislative Council established new police stations and posts throughout Uganda. The government also formed a specially recruited Internal Security Unit that subsequently became the Special Force Units. By the mid-1960s, there were eighteen Special Force Units, each comprising fifty police trained in commando tactics, normally assigned to crowd control duties and border patrols.
Uganda's independence constitution in 1962 reaffirmed the British policy of allowing the kingdoms of Buganda, Bunyoro, Toro, and Ankole to maintain local police forces, which were nominally accountable to Uganda's inspector general of police. When the 1967 Constitution abolished the federal states and Buganda's special status, the local police forces merged into the Uganda Police Force or became local constabularies responsible to the district commissioner under the inspector general's authority.
During the 1960s, the Uganda Police Force comprised a Uniform Branch, which was assigned mainly to urban duties; Special Branch and Criminal Investigation Department (CID); Special Constabulary; Special Force Units; Signals Branch; Railway Police; Police Air Wing; Police Tracker Force; Police Band; and Canine Section. Four regional commanders directed police operations and assisted the inspector general. The Police Council--composed of the inspector general, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and four other members appointed by the minister--recommended policies regarding recruitment and conditions of service. The Public Service Commission, in consultation with the inspector general, appointed senior police officers. The Police Training School in Kampala conducted initial training for new recruits. In-service training for noncommissioned officers and constables took place at the Uganda Police College at Naguru, and many officers studied in Australia, Britain, Israel, and the United States.
By 1968 the Uganda Police Force was a multiethnic, nonpolitical, armed constabulary of between 7,000 and 8,000 officers and constables. In addition to regular urban police activities, it undertook extensive paramilitary duties, provided honor guard detachments for visiting dignitaries, and performed most of the public prosecution in the criminal courts.
During the late 1960s, the government increased its use of the police, and in particular, the CID, to eliminate political dissent. Some politicians complained that this emphasis allowed street crime to flourish. President Obote also created the General Service Department (GSD) outside the police organization to monitor the political climate and report disloyalty. Some GSD agents infiltrated other organizations to observe policies and record discussions. They reported directly to the president on political threats arising from other government agencies and the public. Ugandans both ridiculed and feared GSD agents, whom they described as spies in their midst.
During the 1970s, the police force was practically moribund, but President Amin, like his predecessor, used a number of agencies to root out political dissent. More arrests were made for political crimes than for street crimes or corruption. Amin's government relied on the Military Police, the Public Safety Unit (PSU), and the State Research Bureau (SRB) to detect and eliminate political disloyalty. In 1971 Amin created the SRB as a military intelligence unit directly under the president's control. Its agents, who numbered about 3,000, reportedly kidnapped, tortured, and murdered suspects in their headquarters in Nakasero. Many SRB personnel were non-Ugandans; most had studied in police and military academies in Britain and the United States. Most served one-year tours of duty with the SRB and were then assigned to military duty, government service, or overseas embassy guard duty.
During the early years of the Amin regime, the PSU and the Military Police also acquired reputations as terrorist squads operating against their compatriots. In 1972 the PSU, which was created as an armed robbery investigative unit within the civil police organization, was equipped with submachine-guns. Amin ordered PSU agents to shoot robbers on sight, but in practice, he exerted almost no control over them, and PSU agents became known among many Ugandans as roving death squads.
In the early 1980s, the strength of the police force was only about 2,500, many of whom were trained in Britain or North Korea. The heads of the four police departments--administration, criminal investigation, operations, and training--reported to the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The Special Branch of the CID assumed the responsibilities of the SRB. The Police Special Force, a paramilitary riot control unit, engaged in widespread atrocities against people who opposed the regime, especially in Buganda.
Another internal security agency, the National Security Agency (NSA), was formed in 1979. Many of its first recruits were former GSD members. NSA agents testified before human rights investigators later in the 1980s that although they did not wear uniforms, they carried arms, and many believed themselves to be above the law. Their testimony also related instances of torture and murder, as well as frequent robbery and looting. Detainees were sometimes held in military barracks, in keeping with the NSA policy of avoiding police or prison system controls. In the notorious Luwero Triangle in Buganda, NSA agents became known as "computer men," because they often carried computer printouts in their search for reported subversives.
When the NRA seized power in 1986, Museveni inherited a force of 8,000. A screening exercise revealed that out of the 8,000 personnel, only 3,000 qualified to be retained as police officers. The government augmented this force by contracting 2,000 retired police officers. However, at 5,000 this force was too small to maintain law and order. Museveni therefore ordered the NRA to assume responsibility for internal security. He also announced plans to upgrade police training and equipment, increase the force to 30,000 personnel, revive a defunct marine unit to combat smuggling on Uganda's lakes, improve the Police Air Wing's reconnaissance capability by acquiring more aircraft, and form a new paramilitary unit to bolster internal security.
In December 1988, Uganda's inspector general initiated investigations into charges of police abuse, in the hope of improving the force's reputation. In July 1989, he also announced the creation of new departments of political education, legal affairs and loans, and local government, but their authority had not been fully defined.
In December 1989, President Museveni announced that the police, then numbering almost 30,000, and other internal security organs eventually would assume responsibility for law and order in all districts except Lira, Apac, Gulu, Kitgum, Moroto, Kotido, Soroti, and Kumi--where antigovernment rebels remained active. He also announced plans to end the army's internal security mission as the police assumed greater responsibility for law and order. These changes would enable the army to pursue new training programs and, he hoped, improve morale. Museveni also directed the minister of internal affairs to augment police salaries by providing basic rations, such as food, soap, and blankets, and to investigate ways of supplementing educational costs for the police.
During the 1980s, Britain, France, North Korea, Egypt, and Germany provided assistance to the Uganda Police Force. British instructors taught courses on criminal investigations and police administration, and they trained future police instructors. British assistance also included equipment, such as highfrequency radio sets and Land Rovers, and London had agreed to furnish bicycles, office equipment and supplies, and crime detection kits.
In 1989 French police officials provided three-month training courses in riot control and suppression techniques. The first thirty Ugandans to complete this training became instructors for subsequent courses. In December 1990, another French team of five police officials trained 100 Ugandan police officers in antiriot techniques. Museveni also accepted North Korean offers of equipment and training assistance. By July 1989, P'yngyang also had trained and equipped Uganda's newly established Mobile Police Patrol Unit (MPPU) of 167 officers.
By May 1991, the police force numbered about 20,000. Despite British, French, and North Korean training, the government admitted that the police still needed specialized training programs to improve its investigative capabilities.
In year 2002, the Uganda People's Defense Force (UPDF) was the key security force. The Constitution provides for civilian control of the UPDF, with the President designated as Commander in Chief; a civilian served as Minister of Defense. The Government withdrew a significant portion of the UPDF from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) during the year; however, security forces remained active in Bunia and border areas. The UPDF also increased its activities in the north in "Operation Iron Fist" against the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels and conducted operations destroying LRA sanctuaries in southern Sudan with the permission of the Sudanese Government. UPDF soldiers and members of Local Defense Units (LDU's), assigned to the Reserved Forces, assisted the police in rural areas. LDU's operated under the authority of the Ministry of Internal Affairs but lacked a legal mandate. The Internal Security Organization (ISO) remained under the direct authority of the President. Although the ISO primarily was an intelligence-gathering body, its operatives occasionally detained civilians. The Chief of Military Intelligence (CMI), under UPDF control, detained civilians suspected of rebel and terrorist activity. The police were organized as a national force under the authority of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. All security forces were under government control and were responsive to the Government. Members of the security forces committed numerous serious human rights abuses.
There were unconfirmed reports of politically motivated killings by government forces, and members of the security forces and the police committed unlawful killings. Security forces sometimes used excessive force that resulted in deaths.
Security forces killed several persons during the year. For example, on March 21, 2002, two UPDF soldiers in Kotido killed Father Declan O'Toole, his driver, and his cook. On March 25, the soldiers received a court martial and subsequently were executed.
During the year 2002, violent crime increased considerably nationwide, including car-jackings, armed robberies, and murders. In June the Government began an anti-crime operation code named "Operation Wembley." Under the campaign, security forces fought aggressively against crime; however, the campaign resulted in many deaths, some in gunfire exchanges with criminals, some while criminals were trying to resist arrest or escape from detention. For example, on May 27, an LDU officer was arrested and charged with the murder of a 5-year-old child who was killed in crossfire when security personnel pursued thieves in Poloto Village in Mukono District. Human rights organizations questioned the legality and severity of the police actions.
On June 29, police operating under Operation Wembley killed three armed robbers, allegedly while they tried to escape from custody in Masaka Town.
There were increased reports of ritual killings of children during the year.
UNICEF reported that as many as 30,839 children and adults have been abducted since 1986 by rebel groups. Approximately one-third of the abductees were children, and 20 percent of the adults taken were female. UNICEF also stated that of these, 28,903 abductees were from the north, while 2,036 were from the southwest. Approximately 13,611 persons remained missing and presumed dead at year's end, more than 5,000 of which were children.
UNICEF estimates that 4,500 children were abducted (including long-term and short-term abductions) in the north during the year; some of the children were released and returned home. There were an estimated 7,800 abductions overall from the north during the year. On September 14, LRA rebels abducted two elderly Italian priests and several citizens. The priests were released the next day, and some of the citizens were released by the end of September. The fate of the others was unknown.
During the year, the LRA significantly increased its abductions of civilians for training as guerrillas and as sex slaves, cooks, and porters; most victims were children and young adults. The LRA abducted an estimated 1,086 persons, including children and young girls.
For example, on August 6, LRA rebels abducted four workers of the International Rescue Committee (IRC) following an attack on the Achol-pii Refugee Camp. On August 11, the aid workers were released in Kazi Kazi.
The ADF abducted civilians on one occasion. On May 13, five ADF rebels abducted two girls during an attack on Bujonjo Trading Center in Nyamiramira Parish, Kagadi sub-county. The UPDF rescued one of the girls; the other girl was killed during the crossfire.
Under the 2000 Amnesty Act, government assistance was provided to former rebels to assist their return to the country. On May 9, UNRF-II Chairman, Major General Ali Bamuze, returned from Sudan to discuss amnesty and released more than 135 child soldiers to UNICEF for rehabilitation. On December 24, Bamuze signed a peace agreement with the Government.
Unlike in the previous year, there were no reports that Karamojong warriors abducted women as part of their traditional practice in which they claim unmarried women as wives by raping them.
The Constitution prohibits such torture and other degrading punishment; however, security forces commonly beat criminal suspects, often to force confessions. There were a few reports that security forces tortured suspects, primarily during the period prior to and after the March local council elections.
For example, on March 18, UPDF soldiers and members of the LDU from Moroto District allegedly beat and robbed civilians in Achowa sub-county; the authorities in Katakwi District were investigating the allegations at year's end.
Police and security forces at times harassed and detained opposition activists and journalists.
There were allegations that UPDF soldiers raped and tortured persons in protected villages, IDP camps, and refugee camps that were the targets of large-scale rebel attacks during the year.
On January 10, the police Human Rights Desk released a report on the 317 complaints received in 2001, including allegations of excessive force, torture, assault, rape, and murder. According to the report, of the 317 complaints received, 250 were resolved and 67 were pending investigations. During the year, the desk received 386 new complaints; however, details of the new police report were not released by year's end.
Police processed 101 cases of election-related violence in 2001. During the year, the NGO Election Monitoring Group-Uganda (NEMGROUP) recorded numerous incidents of election-related violence, including murder, attempted murder, harassment, intimidation, riots, and attacks against property.
In conjunction with the UHRC, the police continued a training program for police officials to foster respect for internationally recognized human rights standards. The UHRC and NGOs conducted similar programs with UPDF officials during the year.
The Government investigated some cases of abuse, and tried and punished some offenders. In May 2001, the Ministry of Internal Affairs released the 1999 Judicial Commission of Inquiry report into corruption in the police force. The Commission recommended reform of the police force, including the removal of senior police officers found to be incompetent or who had acquired wealth fraudulently. Five high-ranking police officers subsequently were fired. During the year, four police officers interdicted in 2001 were reinstated; however, three others retired, and one was dismissed following investigations by the disciplinary committee of the police force.
The UHRC Tribunal awarded compensation to several persons who had been abused by police. For example, on April 16, the UHRC Tribunal awarded approximately $18,000 (33 million shillings) to James Kamengo as compensation for torture and inhuman degrading treatment by Lugazi Police, Mukono District in 1999.
On May 22, the UHRC Tribunal awarded approximately $16,000 (30 million shillings) to Private Godfrey Birungi as compensation for having been detained for 3 years, tortured, and deprived of his property by the UPDF in 1997.
On August 29, the UHRC tribunal awarded approximately $2,222 (4 million shillings) as compensation to Yitzach Ocircan, whom police arrested, detained, and tortured for 12 days in 1998.
In accordance with the Lusaka Accords, the Government withdrew most of its troops from the DRC during the year; however, approximately 1,500 soldiers remained in Bunia and on the western slopes of the Rwenzori Mountains.
In 2001 the U.N. released a report that accused various foreign armies in the DRC, including the UPDF, of exploiting the DRC's minerals and other resources, as well as committing human rights abuses. In May 2001, the Government set up the "Judicial Commission into Illegal Exploitation of DRC's Natural Resources and Other Forms of Wealth by Uganda" to investigate the allegations. The report was completed in December but had not been released by year's end.
Reports of violations of humanitarian law decreased in the west, but remained a problem in the north due to the upsurge in LRA activity and the disarmament of the Karamojong in the northeast. The number of reported violations by the Government increased during the year in response to increased activities and abductions by the LRA. There were reports that civilians were injured during fights between UPDF forces and rebels.
There were reports that the LRA committed numerous atrocities, including the use of landmines. The LRA increased attacks and the looting and burning of private homes, schools, and IDP and refugee camps. The LRA continued to abduct children and, at clandestine bases, forced them into virtual slavery as guards, concubines, and soldiers. In addition to being beaten, raped, and forced to march until exhausted, abducted children were forced to participate in the killing of other children who attempted to escape. There also were numerous LRA attacks in which persons were killed and injured and homes and property were destroyed.
There were numerous instances in which mobs attacked suspected thieves and other offenders caught in the commission of crimes. Often motivated by widespread distrust or misunderstanding of the justice system, these mobs engaged in stonings, beatings, and other forms of mistreatment. Such mistreatment included tying suspects' wrists and ankles together behind their backs, stripping suspects of their clothes and parading them through the streets, or forcing suspects to hop painfully on the sides of their ankles.
The Constitution prohibits such practices; however, members of the security forces arrested and detained citizens arbitrarily. Under the Constitution, search warrants issued by competent Judges or prosecutors are required to make an arrest; however, in practice suspects often were taken into custody without them. According to the Constitution, a suspect must be charged within 48 hours of arrest and be brought to trial or released on bail within 120 days (360 days for a capital offense). The Constitution also provides that suspects must have access to a lawyer; however, there was no provision for family visitation. The Constitution provides for bail in all but capital cases and cases of treason. If the case is presented to the court before the expiration of this period, the Constitution does not limit pretrial detention. The Constitution also provides that detainees be informed immediately of the reasons for their detention; however, in practice the authorities did not enforce these procedural protections. In March Parliament passed the Anti-Terrorism Act, which permits suspects to be held for not more than 48 hours without charge, repeals section 28 of the Penal Code that limits the definition of terrorism to illegal possession of firearms, and requires the death penalty for all convicted terrorists. On October 4, the General Court Martial in Kampala remanded UPDF Deputy Director for Sports Captain Moses Kabusenene under this act, after he was charged with terrorism, aggravated robbery, and illegal possession of a firearm.
Legal and human rights groups, including the UHRC, strongly criticized the excessive length of detention without trial, in many cases amounting to several years, for alleged offenses under other laws, which both violated the constitutional rights of the detainees and substantially contributed to prison overcrowding. Pretrial detainees comprised 70 percent of the prison population. The average time in pretrial detention was between 2 and 3 years. An estimated 11,300 of the approximately 17,500 persons being held in the central prisons and in the local government-run prisons were pretrial detainees. During the year, the UHRC heard several cases brought by prisoners challenging the length of their detention.
During the year, there were reported detentions of civilians in military barracks and unregistered places of remand. There were credible allegations that the CMI ordered detainees held incommunicado in police stations or so-called safe houses.
Arbitrary arrest was a problem, and police at times harassed and detained opposition activists. During the local council election campaigns, there were many reports of arbitrary detention; however, few were reported to human rights groups or were verified independently.
The UPDF routinely detained for debriefing LRA fighters and their abductees, including adults and children, at the Gulu military barracks. There were several reports during the year that abductees, mostly children, escaped from the LRA or were freed and returned to their families.
There were fewer reports during the year that LDU members arrested citizens.
The Constitution does not prohibit forced exile; however, the Government did not use exile as a means of political control. During the year, several UPDF officers and Besigye supporters left the country. For example, on February 1, Sabiiti Mutegesa, UPDF's former Director of Records, left the country following an investigation against him over alleged corruption. In February Lt. Muhire Mugire, former ISO Director of Personnel also went into exile. In May Dennis Murindwa, Besigye's cousin who was charged with treason for the alleged recruitment of youths into rebel activity, was released when the court found he had been held beyond the mandatory 48 hours and then reportedly left the country. In September the independent Monitor newspaper reported that Mbareeba Kifaka, a Reform Agenda member, left the country following alleged harassment by security personnel. Kifaka was arrested for alleged subversion and later released in August in Rukungiri.
Former presidential candidate Kizza Besigye and a number of persons on his National Task force, including Rabwoni Okwir, Deus Bainomugisha, and Ann Mugisha, remained in self-imposed exile during the year. James Opoka reportedly was collaborating with the LRA in the north during the year.
Some former rebels returned to the country during the year under the 2000 amnesty.
The Constitution provides for an independent judiciary; however, the President had extensive legal powers that influenced the exercise of this independence. The President nominated, for the approval of Parliament, members of the Judicial Service Commission, which made recommendations on appointments to the High Court, the Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court. The lower courts remained understaffed and weak.
The highest court was the Supreme Court, followed by the Court of Appeal (which also functioned as the Constitutional Court for cases of first instance involving constitutional issues), the High Court, the Chief Magistrate's Court, local council (LC) level 3 (sub-county) courts, LC level 2 (parish) courts, and LC level 1 (village) courts. A minimum of six justices could sit on the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal. In addition, there were a few specialized courts that dealt with industrial and other matters. The Industrial Court (IC), which arbitrated labor disputes, structurally was parallel to the chief magistrate's court. A system of commercial courts resolved commercial disputes, improved commercial justice, and reduced case backlogs. There also was a military court system.
The LC courts often were marred by bribery and male dominance in rural areas. The LC courts had the authority to settle civil disputes, including land ownership and payment of debts, and criminal cases involving children. These courts, often the only ones available to villagers, frequently exceeded their authority by hearing criminal cases, including murder and rape. LC court decisions could be appealed to magistrate's courts; however, often there were no records made at the village level, and defendants were not aware of their right to appeal.
The civilian judicial system contained procedural safeguards, including bail and the right of appeal; however, an inadequate system of judicial administration and a lack of resources, resulting in a serious backlog of cases, circumscribed the right to a fair trial. The case backlog in the High Court continued to diminish; the number of criminal cases pending decreased from 149 in 2001 to 87 by year's end. Most courts rarely observed the constitutionally prescribed limits on pretrial detention. All nonmilitary trials were public.
Many defendants could not afford legal representation. The Constitution requires that the Government provide an attorney for indigent defendants accused of capital offenses, but there rarely was enough money to retain adequate counsel. The Uganda Law Society operated legal aid clinics in four regional offices, although its services remained limited due to funding constraints. It assisted military defendants as well as civilians. The local chapter of Federation International de Abogadas/Uganda Women Lawyers Association (FIDA-U) and the FHRI also practiced public interest law from offices in Kampala. The Law Development Center operated a legal aid clinic to address cases involving children and those accused of petty crimes. A public defense service also operated; however, it lacked government funding and relied solely on donor support.
The military court system did not assure the right to a fair trial. Although the accused had the right to legal counsel, some military defense attorneys were untrained and could be assigned by the military command, which also appointed the prosecutor and the adjudicating officer. The law establishes a court-martial appeals process; however, the sentence passed by a military court, which could include the death penalty, could be appealed only to the High Command. Under exigent circumstances, a field court martial could be convened at the scene of the crime; however, the law does not permit an appeal under this provision.
On August 23, the Government utilized a National Resistance Army (NRA) statute granting jurisdiction over civilians found in possession of military property (including weapons and uniforms) and instituted an extraordinary court martial tribunal to try some suspects detained under Operation Wembley. At least 450 suspects were arrested and detained on various counts including terrorism, aggravated robbery, murder, illegal possession of firearms and desertion, and on September 16, the tribunal began hearing some cases. On October 17, detainees challenged the legality of the extraordinary court martial. However, the Directorate of Public Prosecution, however, ruled that the tribunals were legal under the 1992 NRA statute.
The Government continued to arrest and charge persons for treason, especially captured rebel fighters and opposition supporters. During the year, numerous human rights abuses continued to be committed in connection with treason cases, including political detention, detention without charge, detention in unregistered and unofficial places of remand, and mistreatment, including torture. At year's end, prison officials reported that there more than 120 persons detained on charges of treason. Detainees included members of the Islamic Tabliq group, some of whom were released and then rearrested.
In 2000 the President signed an amnesty law, which applies to all persons involved in insurgencies since the Movement came into power in 1986. In July the amnesty law was extended for a 6-month period. Since the establishment of the amnesty Commission, 4,714 former rebels or collaborators accepted amnesty, of which 141 were already in prison in 2001 on charges of treason. During the year, no former rebels in prison on treason charges were pardoned, but there were pending applications. On April 19, approximately 1,350 UNRF-II rebels based in Southern Sudan returned to the country with their families to negotiate resettlement terms under the Amnesty Program, which increased the number of persons at a camp in Yumbe supported by the UPDF under a de-facto ceasefire to 2,500. The Government also released some persons convicted of treason and other suspects; however, by year's end, the Government had made limited progress in implementing provisions in the amnesty act related to the repatriation and resettlement of former rebels because of funding constraints.
There was one political prisoner. Bright Gabula Africa, whose death sentence for treason (plotting an armed coup) was upheld by the Supreme Court in 1995, remained imprisoned pending the outcome of his appeal to the Advisory Committee on the Prerogative of Mercy, a largely autonomous constitutional body.
The Constitution prohibits arbitrary interference with privacy and the Government generally respected these prohibitions in practice; however, there were some exceptions. The law requires that police obtain search warrants before entering private homes or offices; however, at times police did not obtain warrants prior to searches.
During the presidential, parliamentary, and local council election campaigns, there were credible reports that security officials searched homes and applied routine traffic roadblocks without warrants. The police also sometimes searched vehicles without prior warrants. During the year, police searched a newspaper office without a warrant.
On March 20, Parliament passed the Anti-Terrorism Act, which authorizes certain law enforcement officials to intercept communication in order to detect and prevent terrorist activities. Prison officials routinely censored prisoners' mail.
The Government required that employees in the President's office register their political affiliation in writing.
The Government at times punished family members of suspected criminals. On July 13, John Bagashasha, a relative of Lt. Col. Anthony Kyakabale, an alleged UPDF deserter believed to be organizing a rebel force against the Government, was arrested for alleged subversion. In August the DMI released him.
During colonial times, the principal penal facility was Luzira Prison near Kampala, although jails were common in larger towns. Prisoners in Luzira were separated according to categories such as long-term convicts, "recidivists," women, children, Asians, and Europeans. Cells for specific punishments and death row were also separate from the regular prison population, and the facility had several workshops and a hospital. The government also maintained smaller prisons for local convicts in Buganda, Bunyoro, Toro, and Ankole. Terms of less than six months were generally served in smaller jails located in each district.
In 1964 the Prison Service operated thirty prisons, many of which were actually industrial or agricultural facilities, intended to rehabilitate prisoners. By mid-1968, the Prison Service had a force of about 3,000 under the command of the commissioner of prisons.
During the 1970s, civilian and military prison conditions deteriorated, and prisoner abuse became common. At Makindye and Mutukula military prisons outside Kampala, for example, Langi and Acholi soldiers suspected of disloyalty to the regime were murdered. The PSU killed several thousand political opponents at the Uganda Police College at Naguru. At the SRB's Nakasero headquarters, some prisoners claimed they had survived through cannibalism.
Prison conditions in the early 1980s were also dismal. According to Amnesty International, the Obote regime imprisoned civilians without charge or for political crimes. Many were held in police stations, military barracks, and NSA detention centers. Almost all penal facilities were overcrowded, sometimes housing ten times the number of inmates intended. Other reports, however, indicated that members of the Uganda Prison Service sometimes treated inmates relatively humanely, allowing them to read, exercise, and attend religious services.
When Museveni seized power, he promised to improve the country's prison system, but this proved to be a difficult task, in part because so many people were arrested. In late 1986, the Uganda Human Rights Activists (UHRA) charged that the authorities had imprisoned as many as 10,000 people at the Murchison Bay Prison in western Uganda, a facility with an 800-inmate capacity. Moreover, the UHRA and Amnesty International claimed that prisoners lived in abominable conditions, which caused a number of deaths from disease.
In 1987 Museveni allowed the ICRC to survey conditions in Uganda's civil prisons. Although some reports suggested that prison conditions improved as a result, there had in fact been little change. In late 1990, for example, Chief Justice Samuel Wako Wambuzi condemned overcrowding in Masaka Central Prison. According to his investigation, the prison contained 456 inmates rather than the authorized 120 people. Similar conditions existed in most of Uganda's other prisons.
As of year 2002, prison conditions remained harsh and life threatening for the estimated 17,500 inmates in the various prisons and police cells primarily as a result of the Government's seriously inadequate funding of prison facilities. Prison conditions came closest to meeting international standards in Kampala, where prisons provided medical care, running water, and sanitation; however, these prisons also were among the most overcrowded. By one estimate, the country's prisons held approximately three times their planned capacity. The central prison system continued to work with NGOs and the donor community to improve prison buildings, water and sanitation systems, food, and uniforms; however, progress was minimal during the year. Although the law provides for access to prisoners by their families, ignorance of this right and fear of prison authorities often limited family visits. The UHRC reported that it received allegations that officers in charge of police cells sometimes demanded bribes to allow visits.
In March the UHRC reported overcrowding, torture by wardens, severely inadequate medical services, unhygienic conditions, and "semi-starvation" among prisoners in many prisons. The investigator also received complaints from female prisoners that prison authorities tortured them. In March the UHRC branch in Gulu investigated the 2000 torture allegations of four inmates and wrote to the Officer in Charge of Lira Government Prisons, who demoted Alfred Obura and transferred others who were responsible to different departments. Long remand periods also were a problem. For example, Gorretti Kabananuka, an elderly female inmate, had been on remand for 6 years in Kakiika prison in Mbarara.
Prisoners at most of the prisons grew maize, millet, and vegetables; however, the UHRC accused prison farms of overworking inmates. Skilled prisoners earned approximately $0.14 (500 shillings), and unskilled prisoners earned approximately $0.06 (100 shillings) per day.
The Community Service Act reduces prison congestion by allowing minor offenders to do community service instead of being imprisoned. Since the act was implemented in November 2001, 301 offenders have been sentenced to community service in the pilot districts of Mukono, Mpigi, Masaka, and Masindi.
There were a number of deaths in custody, some due to torture.
Authority over the local prison system remained with the Ministry of Local Government. Both civilian and military prisons were believed to have high mortality rates from overcrowding, malnutrition, diseases spread by unsanitary conditions, HIV/AIDS, and lack of medical care; however, accurate estimates were unavailable. In October Assistant Commissioner of the Uganda Prisons Department Mary Kaddu reported the deaths in custody of 37 inmates due to health reasons in Kampala's Luzira Prison during the year; 30 of the 37 died of HIV/AIDS-related diseases. Government agencies sponsored or participated in numerous conferences on the justice system and prison conditions, and worked closely with international and domestic human rights organizations on prison reform efforts during the year.
Female prisoners were held in segregated wings with female staff in most prisons. According to human rights advocates, rape generally was not a problem, although female prisoners also suffered from severely substandard conditions. Due to lack of space in juvenile facilities, juveniles often were kept in prisons with adults. The central prison system maintained one juvenile prison and four lower security remand homes. School facilities and health clinics in all five institutions were defunct; prisoners as young as age 12 performed manual labor from dawn until dusk. Severe overcrowding also was a problem at juvenile detention facilities and in women's wings. The remand home in Kampala, designed for 45 inmates, held approximately 140 children. In Kampala penal institutions, pretrial detainees were kept separate from convicted prisoners; however, in the rest of the country, due to financial constraints, pretrial detainees and convicted prisoners sometimes were held together.
The Government permitted full access to prisons by the ICRC and local NGOs, principally the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI) and the Uganda Prisoners' Aid Foundation. The UHRC visited numerous prisons and reported on its findings publicly. Prison authorities required advance notification of visits, a process that often was subject to administrative delays.
Domestic violence against women, including rape, remained common. According to the 2001 Law and Advocacy for Women Projects Report on Domestic Violence, wife beating ranked highest among the Acholi people at an estimated 80 percent. The Bakiga in the south ranked second with 75 percent. There were no laws that specifically protect women from battery or spousal rape, although there was a general law concerning assault. Law enforcement officials, reflecting general public opinion, continued to view wife beating as a husband's prerogative and rarely intervened in cases of domestic violence. Women remained more likely to sue for divorce than to file assault charges against their husbands.
These problems continued to receive increasing public attention. Numerous women's rights NGOs sponsored conferences, empowerment sessions, and training programs throughout the country. The revised 1964 bride-price by-law, which was passed by a referendum in Tororo in December 2001, made the bride price a nonrefundable gift to the parents of the bride and was expected to lessen domestic violence when either party sought divorce. During the 2001 presidential elections, the Government set up a hotline for women to call the UPDF to seek redress if their husbands threatened violence against them for exercising their right to choose a candidate.
The Karamojong ethnic group in the northeast has a cultural practice of claiming unmarried women as wives by raping them; however, no cases of this practice were reported during the year. An undetermined number of women were victims of abduction and rape by rebel forces. There were allegations of rape by the UPDF.
FGM was practiced by the Sabiny tribe, located in the rural Kapchorwa District, and the Pokot tribe (also known as the Upe), which inhabited the northeastern border with Kenya. There were approximately 10,000 Sabiny and approximately 20,000 Upe who lived in the country. Among the Sabiny, initiation ceremonies involving FGM were carried out every 2 years. During the year, initiation ceremonies took place in Kapchorwa. The NGO REACH recorded a total of 586 women who underwent FGM. These figures were down from the 621 reported in 2000.
There was no law against the practice, but the Government and women's groups working with the U.N. Population Fund continued to carry out programs to combat the practice through education. These programs received strong government support and some support from local leaders. The programs emphasized close cooperation with traditional authority figures and peer counseling. Significant press attention to these ongoing efforts brought public attention to the problem during the year.
Prostitution was illegal; however, it was common. There were no credible statistics available on the occurrence of prostitution during the year.
There were reports of trafficking in persons during the year.
Sexual harassment also was common. On May 9, the Board of the Faculty of Law at Makerere University approved a sexual harassment policy intended to combat sexual abuse and harassment at the University. The July International Women's Congress held in Kampala heard from female police officers who were pressured into giving sexual favors and denied promotions.
Traditional and widespread societal discrimination against women continued, especially in rural areas. Many customary laws discriminate against women in the areas of adoption, marriage, divorce, and inheritance. In most areas, women could not own or inherit property, nor retain custody of their children under local customary law. Divorce law requires women to meet stricter evidentiary standards than were required for men in order to prove adultery. Polygyny was legal under both customary and Islamic law, and a wife had no legal status to prevent her husband from marrying another woman. In some ethnic groups, men also could "inherit" the widows of their deceased brothers. Women did most of the agricultural work but owned only 7 percent of the agricultural land. There were limits on a married woman's ability to travel abroad with her children.
There were active women's rights groups, including FIDA, Action for Development, the National Association of Women Judges (NAWJ), Akina Mama Wa Afrika, the Forum for Women in Democracy, and NAWOU, which promoted greater awareness of the rights of women and children. Women as Partners for Peace sponsored a forum to discuss democracy and conflict resolution. FIDA continued with its program on proposed reforms of outdated and discriminatory laws.
The Government demonstrated a commitment to improving children's welfare. Education received the largest percentage of the budget. During the year, the Government did not enforce effectively the 1996 Children's Statute, which outlines broad protections for children. Government efforts to enforce the statute's provisions were hampered by the large proportion of the population that was below 18 years of age (50 percent of the country's population was under 15), staffing and fiscal constraints on the judiciary, and cultural norms. The law stipulates parents' responsibilities and provides extensive protection for children in a wide variety of areas, including financial support, foster care placement, adoption, determination of parentage, and treatment of children charged with offenses. It also includes provisions on the rights of the child. For example, the law prohibits children from taking part in any activity that was likely to injure the child's health, education, mental, physical, or moral development; however, the Government often did not enforce these prohibitions. The Children's Statute also requires children with disabilities to be treated and given necessary special facilities; however, inadequate funding often hampered the enforcement of this provision. In August the Ministry of Gender reported that knowledge on the rights of children of the 1996 Children's Statute was poor in most parts of the country, particularly in rural communities.
The Government continued the Universal Primary Education (UPE) program, which provided free education through the seventh grade; however, education was not compulsory. According to official statistics, there was a 95 percent enrollment rate; however, this figure widely was believed to be inflated as a result of both school dropouts and a tendency of some schools to inflate attendance figures for funding purposes. Since the implementation of UPE, primary school enrollment increased from 2.9 million in 1996 to 7.2 million during the year.
During the year, the Government eliminated the previous restriction to four children per family and opened UPE to all primary age children without limits. Key components of the UPE program included eliminating compulsory uniform requirements, providing free textbooks, and eliminating school and Private Learning Examination (PLE) fees. The UPE increased funding for education, provided additional skills training for teachers, and reduced the textbook to student ratio; however, some provisions had not yet been implemented fully by year's end. Strained finances, internal corruption, instability in some areas, infrastructure problems, and inadequate teacher training prevented full implementation. The UPE program made education more accessible financially; however, parents still had to pay for school supplies and some school costs.
Girls and boys theoretically had equal access to education in the lower grades; however, the proportion of girls in higher school grades remained low because families traditionally favored boys when making financially related educational decisions. Boys also were more likely to finish primary school and perform better on the PLE. The Government continued several programs to promote a national plan for the education of girls; only 54 percent of adult women were literate compared with 74 percent of adult men.
Child abuse remained a serious problem, particularly the rape of young girls or defilement. Defilement applied to all cases of sexual contact outside of marriage involving girls younger than 18 years of age, regardless of consent or the age of the perpetrator. The perpetrators of rape often were family members, neighbors, or teachers; however, only a small fraction of these cases was reported. In August the district of Mbarara's Department of Education established a hotline for the public to report defilement cases by teachers. Many cases frequently were reported in newspapers; a payment to the girl's parents often settled such cases. During the year, there were 5,554 reported cases of defilement, of which 3,178 were investigated. Increasing numbers of accusations reached the courts and an increasing number of cases were prosecuted during the year; however, neither conviction nor punishment was common. Defilement carried a maximum sentence of death; however, no court sentenced rapists to death during the year.
The marriage of young girls by parental arrangements was common, especially in rural areas.
Most schools used corporal punishment; however, the beating of secondary school students was prohibited. On August 9, a court sentenced a primary school teacher to 3 weeks imprisonment in Luzira Prison for caning student Elizabeth Uwimeza and causing bodily injury. The teacher also was ordered to pay $111.00 (200,000 shillings) to the victim after serving the sentence.
There were increased allegations and some confirmed reports of ritual killings of children during the year. On June 17, police in Luwero arrested four persons in connection with a ritual murder of a girl whose body was discovered in a shallow grave near a shrine in Nakikoota Village. Investigations in the case were pending at year's end.
On June 28, Salim Hussein of Kasusu, Kabarole District, beheaded the 2-year-old son of the Fort Portal Municipal Council Treasurer. Hussein later was killed by an angry mob.
In September police in Mukono arrested a man named "Davis," who allegedly tried to sell his 6-year-old son for approximately $1,666 (3 million shillings). Davis reportedly was arrested following the delivery of the child to a traditional healer.
There were no reports of developments in the April 2001 case in which police arrested three traditional healers for allegedly kidnaping and trying to sacrifice a 13-year-old boy in Mukono, or in the December 2001 case in which police arrested Sheikh Hamdan Madanga, a witch doctor, for possession of a human head in his shrine in Mbale.
There were an estimated 2 million orphaned children (children missing either or both parents). This large number of orphans resulted from previous civil wars, the internal displacement of persons, and HIV/AIDS.
FGM was performed on girls in the Sabiny and Pokot tribes.
Child prostitution was a problem.
Trafficking in children remained a problem.
The legal recruitment age for military service was 18 years; however, in practice some recruiters allowed 17 year-olds to enlist. LDU's could recruit children under the age of 18 with parental consent.
There were reports that the military detained and used child soldiers to help find LRA landmines, camps, and arms caches.
The LRA abducted many children and used them as guards, laborers, soldiers, or as sex slaves . Most LRA fighters were abducted children coerced into becoming rebels.
TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS
The law prohibits trafficking in persons; however, there were reports that persons were trafficked to, from, or within the country. The Criminal Code prohibits slavery with penalties of up to 10 years' imprisonment and requires the CID to combat trafficking. The CID did not keep records on the magnitude of the trafficking problem and it was unknown if its efforts were effective.
There was strong evidence that prison officials hired out prisoners to work on private farms and construction sites, where they often were overworked .
In urban areas, some children were involved in the commercial sex industry, particularly in border towns and in Kampala.
There were no reports that government officials were complicit in the trafficking during the year.
Unlike in the previous year, there were no reports that the country acted as a transit point for trafficking in persons.
There were continued reports that the SPLA forcibly recruited Sudanese refugees in the north for service in Sudan.
The LRA abducted civilians for training as guerrillas; most victims were children and young adults whom the LRA forced into virtual slavery as guards, laborers, soldiers, and sex slaves. On March 5, the Government and Sudan signed an agreement in Khartoum for the Government of Sudan to stop supporting the LRA and permit the UPDF access in southern Sudan to pursue the LRA. The protocol was extended several times, including in December.
The Government, through the military, continued efforts to combat trafficking in persons by the LRA despite severe resource constraints. The Government began Operation Iron Fist to eradicate the LRA threat. It continued to offer amnesty to ex-rebels, providing resettlement packages that provided educational benefits and vocational training. The Government also established protected camps garrisoned by the UPDF that have helped to prevent abductions. The UPDF escorted rescued abductees to NGO facilities, which provided physical assistance and counseling to the children and their families so that the children could be reintegrated into society.
Uganda is experiencing a large influx of western currency, primarily from non-governmental organizations and donor nations. Ugandan authorities suspect some of the funds come from illicit sources, but are candid about their lack of expertise in investigating money laundering. After determining that at least three Ugandan companies were being used by a group of Nigerians and Ugandans as fronts for money laundering, the Governments of Uganda and Nigeria signed a bilateral initiative to cooperate in the fight against drug trafficking and money laundering. Uganda needs to develop anti-money laundering measures to protect itself from financial crimes and money laundering.
Internet research assisted by Courtney van Elden