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TITLE:  UGANDA HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1993                             
DATE:  JANUARY 31, 1994


Since 1986 President Yoweri Museveni and his National 
Resistance Movement (NRM) have exercised authority through the 
National Resistance Council (NRC), an appointed Cabinet, and 
the National Resistance Army.  Both the NRC and the Cabinet 
include members of the three major political parties, the 
Democratic Party (DP), the Uganda People's Congress (UPC), and 
the Conservative Party (CP).  Although he generally seeks 
consensus with key institutions and interest groups on 
important policy issues, the President dominates the Government 
and the transition process to constitutional government.  
Elections for a Constituent Assembly to debate and adopt a new 
constitution were scheduled for March 28, 1994, with general 
elections under the new constitution to be held by the end of 
1994.  The present Government's term expires on January 25, 

Under the President, the National Resistance Army (NRA) is the 
key security apparatus in Uganda.  As part of his strategy to 
deal with insurgencies, Museveni expanded the army tenfold 
between 1986 and 1991, incorporating former rebels into the 
NRA; this eroded discipline within the ranks.  In 1992, as the 
security situation stabilized, the Government began 
demobilizing the armed forces, discharging over 23,000 soldiers 
by the end of 1993.  The professionalism of the police force 
continued to grow in 1993, although it remained severely 
underfunded, ill-trained, poorly equipped, and often corrupt.  
The Army, along with home guards and local defense units, 
continued to perform police functions in rural areas.  The 
Internal Security Organization (ISO) is responsible for 
intelligence and security.  As armed insurgencies in northern 
and northeastern Uganda ended during the year, reports of human 
rights abuses by the NRA and the rebels declined significantly.

The Ugandan economy remains primarily based in agriculture, 
with rural poverty a continuing problem.  The economic growth 
rate averaged about 7 percent in 1993, with a negative 
inflation rate, both positive signs of the country's improving 
economy.  Coffee remains the chief export crop and foreign 
exchange earner, but efforts to diversify the economy continued 
to pay off in modest increases in tobacco, cotton, and tea 
exports.  Foreign aid contributed 60 percent of government 
spending in 1993.  In accordance with reforms supported by the 
International Monetary Fund, the civil service began a 
retrenchment in 1992, cutting the government payroll.  

Overall, the human rights situation in Uganda continued to 
improve in 1993.  With the apparent end of major armed 
insurgencies, which had been responsible in the past for 
massive violations by both the NRA and the rebel forces, there 
were few reports of such violations, and by the end of the year 
the Government had released almost all civilian and military 
prisoners taken during the campaigns.  Nonetheless, the 
Government continued to bear responsibility for some serious 
human rights abuses.  These included restrictions on organized 
political party activity, including breaking up peaceful 
political assembly, the harassment of journalists through 
arrests on sedition charges, and occasional incidents of 
torture and beatings of prisoners.  Discrimination, domestic 
violence, and rape against women continued.


Section 1  Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
           Freedom from:

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

There is no evidence that the Government sanctioned political 
killings in 1993.  There were, however, reports of 
extrajudicial killings.  For example, on June 21, police and 
internal security officials arrested four intelligence officers 
accused of murdering two prisoners in Iganga district on
June 7.  The case received considerable media attention.  Two 
of the four accused officers were released without charge; the 
other two were being held in Makindye military prison without 
charge at year's end.  

Rebel groups also engaged in extrajudicial killings.  In March 
a group calling itself The Lord's Resistance Army abducted the 
former District Administrator (DA) of Nebbi and killed three 
others; the DA was released by the group on April 29.  In 
April, a rebel group led by Charles Ogwang killed a Resistance 
Council official and a Local Defense Unit member in Kumi 
district.  In November a group thought to be members of the 
Lakwena rebels ambushed and killed an assistant security 
officer and one home guard in Gulu district.  Remnants of 
Uganda Patriotic Army rebels killed three people in Kumi 
district, also in November.  It is not clear whether the above 
incidents were politically motivated or criminal acts of murder.

In contrast to past years, there were no reports in 1993 that 
the NRA committed extrajudicial killings.

     b.  Disappearance

There were no known government-sponsored disappearances in 1993.

     c.  Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
         Treatment or Punishment

While isolated incidents of torture and beatings of prisoners 
by police and army officials continue, there is no evidence of 
government-sanctioned torture.  "Kandoya," a traditional local 
method of immobilizing prisoners by suspending them by their 
wrists and ankles which are tied behind their backs, was still 
reported.  The practice is illegal, however, and military 
authorities have publicly expressed their condemnation of it.  
Increased military discipline combined with increased security 
in the country, open newspaper reporting of military 
misconduct, and the political will of the higher levels of the 
administration resulted in reducing the incidence of abuses of 
persons under detention.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) had access 
to all prisoners it requested to visit in prisons, police 
stations, military barracks and NRA detachments throughout 
Uganda.  The NRA would not permit private ICRC interviews with 
soldiers who had not been sentenced.  Diplomats from several 
countries were also allowed to visit civilian and military 

Uganda's prisons reportedly have one of the highest mortality 
rates in the world from diseases spread by unsanitary 
conditions, malnutrition, and AIDS, a disease which is pandemic 
in Uganda.  Prisoners do not have access to proper medical care 
nor adequate nutrition.  The ICRC arranged for installation of 
a new water system for Luzira and successfully negotiated with 
the Government for families to be permitted to bring food to 
prisoners throughout Uganda, improving their nutrition.  In 
1993 there were media reports of homosexual rape among the 
inmate population.  Luzira prison, Uganda's largest with an 
intended capacity of 600, held about 1,200 at the end of 1993, 
down from more than 2,000 at the beginning of 1992.  The 
Foundation for Human Rights Initiatives in Uganda and Penal 
Reform International, an organization based in Britain, 
conducted a conference in August on penal justice and prison 
reform, including a visit by participants to Luzira.

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

Although Ugandan law requires that a suspect must be charged 
within 24 hours of arrest and be brought to trial or considered 
for bail within 240 days (480 days for a capital offense), 
government offficials failed to enforce both requirements.

The Government has a variety of legal means to detain 
indefinitely suspected opponents, including through broadly 
interpreted charges of treason that may be used to hold a 
suspect for 480 days before trial or consideration of an 
application for bail.  The Public Order and Security Act of 
1967 (The Detention Order) permits unlimited detention without 
charge, and remains a lever for the Government to use against 
opponents, but the Act has not been invoked by the NRM.

The Government released most of the remaining civilians and 
rebel soldiers who had been detained in the various insurgency 
campaigns; at one time they numbered in the thousands.  The 
Government or NRA usually held these persons on treason 
charges, often in military barracks, but rarely brought them to 
trial.  Among those released in August were nine military 
officers who were arrested in 1990 for conspiracy to overthrow 
the Government by force of arms.  One of the nine released 
officers plans to stand for the Constituent Assembly election.

With relative peace throughout the country, the Government 
detained fewer persons without charge than in past years.  The 
Government did not formally charge anyone with treason in 
1993.  Ten suspected rebels were arrested during the year; 
those who were not released were charged with criminal 
offenses.  Police arrested three journalists on charges of 
sedition for printing stories critical of government policy and 
officials (see Section 2.a.).  At the end of the year, the 
Government held approximately 100 persons on state security 
grounds, with 14 new cases reported in 1993, as opposed to 423 
new cases in 1992.

The Government does not use exile as a means of political 
control.  A presidential amnesty for former rebels remains in 
effect and applies to opponents in exile.  Those who return, 
however, may be prosecuted for criminal acts they may have 
committed.  Ugandans continued to return from exile in 1993, 
including former president Tito Okello.

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

The Ugandan court system consists of magistrates' courts, the 
High Court, and a Supreme Court.  There is also a military 
court system for hearing offenses against military personnel.  
The judicial system contains procedural safeguards modeled 
after British law, including the granting of bail and appeals 
to higher courts.  However, the Government has circumscribed 
the right to a fair trial in recent years by its reliance on 
indefinite detention of its opponents, by an inadequate system 
of judicial administration, and by the reluctance of military 
authorities to respect civilian court orders.  In one instance, 
for example, a military court refused to honor a civilian 
court's writ of habeas corpus.  Trials in the military court 
system also lack important due process safeguards and do not 
meet international standards.

A serious backlog of cases denies most defendants a speedy 
trial.  Criminal cases can take 2 or more years to reach the 
courts.  In rural areas, there is often no magistrate.  There 
were no reports of the use of military field tribunals in 
remote areas as had occurred in previous years.

The Ugandan Law Society operated legal aid clinics in Kampala 
and Jinja, with plans to open an additional clinic in Fort 
Portal, assisting free of charge more than 100 people.

The Ugandan judiciary is generally independent; the Government 
usually complies with court decisions.  In appointing the four 
members of the Judicial Service Commission which makes 
recommendations on High Court and Supreme Court appointments, 
the President maintains considerable control over the 
judiciary.  The Commission must concur in the dismissal of a 
magistrate.  A judge may be removed only after a tribunal 
comprised of three judges finds that he is "unable to perform 
the functions of his office."

In June a Commission of Inquiry into the mismangagement of 
criminal cases, headed by a British High Court Justice, began 
public hearings, preceded by the suspension of the Director of 
Public Prosecution and another officer.  At the end of the 
year, some state attorneys had also been suspended.  The 
Commission will continue its hearings in 1994, with an expected 
completion date of March.

Village resistance councils (RC's) have the authority to settle 
civil disputes, including those related to land ownership and 
payment of debts.  The RC courts, typically the only ones 
available to villagers, often exceed their authority by hearing 
criminal cases, including murder and rape.  Legally the RC 
decisions may be appealed in magistrates' courts.  In practice 
this does not often happen because people are ignorant of their 
right to appeal or are limited by lack of finances.  The 
Ugandan Law Society proposed to the Attorney General in 1992 
that the village RC courts be replaced by a group of elected 
elders of impeccable character to be supervised by magistrates, 
thus separating the judicial and executive functions at the 
village level.  The Government did not respond to the proposal.

The military court system does not meet international standards 
for assuring a fair trial.  Although the accused has the right 
to legal counsel, the defense attorney is often untrained and 
is usually assigned by the military command which also appoints 
the prosecutor and the adjudicating officer.  The sentence 
passed by a military court, which may invoke the death penalty, 
may be appealed to the High Command.  The Government has never 
implemented a 1989 law permitting the establishment of special 
magistrates courts in areas of insurgency, but, like the 
Detention Order, the Government is not likely to revoke it.

     f.  Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 

The Government does not intrude on the privacy, family, or home 
of citizens on a wide scale, and there is no indication that it 
interfered with private correspondence in 1993.  However, 
although search warrants are legally required before private 
homes or offices may be entered, the police and the army in 
Kampala and Gulu violated this requirement.  In February before 
the Pope's visit, the police conducted security searches 
without warrants.  Police officials also reportedly conducted 
sweeps of vehicles and pedestrians without warrants, searching 
for illegal weapons in cities throughout the country.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

The Government restricts freedom of speech by limiting 
political party activities and by arresting journalists for 
sedition.  Three arrests of journalists in late 1993 had a 
temporary chilling effect on both the press and the opposition, 
although the journalists were released on bail and continued to 
publish articles critical of the Government and its human 
rights abuses.  Despite restrictions on party rallies and other 
public activities, open debate occurs in the NRC, in the media, 
and in public forums.  Public figures openly criticize 
government policies, corruption, and human rights abuses.

Fifteen newspapers and magazines cover a wide range of 
viewpoints.  Despite other restrictions on political party 
activity, political parties publish newspapers to promote their 
views.  The Government owns the New Vision, which has 
accurately reported on corruption in government and human 
rights abuses by the NRA.  Among the main problems confronting 
Uganda print media are extremely tight operating budgets, 
limited access to information, and the absence of formal 
distribution channels outside the capital.  There are no 
foreign correspondents in Uganda.

Unlike the regimes that preceded it, the NRM has not instituted 
formal censorship.  However, the legal provisions for doing so 
remain on the books, and the Government has used sedition 
charges to attack its press critics.  Government actions 
against journalists have resulted in some self-censorship.  A 
journalism bill called for the creation of a media council to 
monitor and discipline journalists.  The bill was strongly 
criticized by members of the press; the journalists' union 
sponsored a seminar in November attacking the bill.  The 
Government withdrew the bill for further revision and review.

There were a number of government-initiated actions against the 
press.  On October 1, police arrested two journalists, the 
editor in chief of Uganda Confidential, Teddy Seezi Cheeye, and 
a subeditor of Shariat, on charges of sedition.  On October 25, 
police arrested the editor of Shariat on charges of publishing 
seditious stories.  He was later released on bail; his case, 
and that of his subeditor, remained pending in the courts at 
year's end.

In early December, Kampala's Chief Magistrate dismissed charges 
of defamation and sedition against Uganda Confidential editor 
Cheeye dating from 1991 and 1992.  On December 4, however, the 
Government added two new charges of sedition against Cheeye for 
an August issue of Uganda Confidential.  The court scheduled 
the next hearing in this case against Cheeye for January 1994.

Before his October 1 arrest, editor Cheeye had faced seven 
different law suits for publishing allegedly defamatory and 
seditious articles about the President, Cabinet ministers, and 
other prominent Ugandans.  In March the president of the Uganda 
Journalists Association won about $3,000 (3 million Uganda 
shillings)in damages in one such case against Uganda 

Uganda Television (UTV) and Radio Uganda are controlled by the 
Government.  They disseminate NRM views, but also broadcast 
discussions of public policy that reflect a variety of 
opinion.  Political party spokespersons have appeared on UTV 
and Radio Uganda, usually facing critical interviewers, but 
openly expressing their views.

A considerable degree of academic freedom exists at Uganda's 
five public and three private universities, with no government 
interference in teaching, research, or publication.  Professors 
appear to exercise caution rather than test the limits of their 
academic freedom.  Students, however, have sponsored 
wide-ranging political debates in open forums on campus.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

All associations in Uganda must register with the Government.  
Permits for public gatherings must be obtained from police 
authorities, who have and exercise the right to deny permits in 
the interest of public safety.  Although political parties are 
not banned, political activity is restricted, and political 
rallies are not allowed.  The police and district 
administration officials broke up four meetings convened by UPC 
officials:  A joint executive meeting for UPC leaders in Arua 
in February, and UPC meetings in Nebbi in March, and in Pallisa 
and Mbale in April.

In May the mobilizers' group of the Democratic Party scheduled 
a rally in Kampala in defiance of the restrictions on party 
activities.  A strong show of force by the police, unchallenged 
by the mobilizers, blocked the rally.  The DP Mobilizers 
scheduled a second rally for November 13.  Police again 
presented a show of force and the organizers canceled the rally 
before it began.

In December an unofficial UPC meeting at a funeral in Lira 
resulted in a confrontation with the police; UPC officials 
disbanded the meeting to avoid violence.  Later in the month, 
police shot into the air when a a crowd of UPC supporters 
gathered to block the arrest of a UPC leader; several people 
were injured.  The UPC has brought a case to court challenging 
the restrictions on public political party activity as 
unconstitutional since they violate the freedoms of speech and 
assembly in the current (1967) Constitution.  On December 14, a 
High Court judge referred the case to a Constitutional Court, 
which will be constituted of three senior High Court judges.

Professional associations operate without hindrance, as do 
international service asssociations.

     c.  Freedom of Religion

There is no state religion in Uganda.  Christianity, Islam, 
Hinduism, and African traditional religions are freely 
practiced.  Conversion between religions is not obstructed.  
Foreign missionaries and other religious figures are generally 
welcome in Uganda.  There is no government control of religious 
publications, even those with an antigovernment bias.  
Religious leaders frequently speak out publicly on topics 
relating to their followers' welfare, addressing in particular 
human rights, security, and political issues.

While it has not been uniformly enforced, the Government 
requires religious groups to register as nongovernmental 
organizations (NGO's).  Registration has not curtailed 
activities by these groups.

     d.  Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
         Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

As security conditions continued to improve, freedom of 
movement in Uganda expanded greatly, although access to some 
areas remained restricted.  The NRA required vehicles to travel 
in convoys on the route between Karuma and Pakwach in the 
northwest for several months in early 1993.  Travel in the 
east, and particularly Karamoja in the northeast, remained 
difficult due to sporadic attacks by armed bandits.

Ugandans are free to emigrate and to travel abroad.  Uganda 
accommodates refugees from Sudan, Rwanda, Zaire, Somalia, and 
other countries.  There were over 250,000 registered, and a 
large number of unregistered refugees in Uganda in 1993.  In 
August and September, new waves of Sudanese refugees began 
crossing the border into northern Uganda fleeing war and 
insecurity.  At the same time, the cease-fire and the August 
Peace Accord between the Rwandan Government and the Rwandan 
Patriotic Front brought the voluntary repatriation of thousands 
of Rwandan refugees from Uganda.

There were no instances of expulsion or forced repatriation of 
refugees in 1993.

Section 3  Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens 
           to Change Their Government

Citizens did not have this right in 1993.  However, the 
constitutional commission presented the draft constitution to 
the President in December 1992, and the NRC passed the 
Constituent Assembly Statute in April 1993.  The Statute 
established the composition and duties of the Assembly, which 
will debate and enact a new constitution, and created an 
independent election commission tasked with laying the 
groundwork for and conducting elections.  The Assembly has a 
mandate of 4 months, with one 3-month extension, to prepare a 
final constitution.  The NRC is planning elections for 
President and Members of Parliament in 1994, following the 
enactment of this new constitution.

The Constituent Assembly will have 288 members:  214 elected 
directly, 39 women elected within the RC's, 10 delegates for 
the army, 10 presidential appointees, 2 delegates for each of 
the 4 established political parties, plus representatives for 
youth (4), labor (2), and the disabled (1).

Until the new constitution is in place and elections are held, 
President Museveni, who was never elected and has never faced a 
vote of confidence, continues to hold power as Chief Executive, 
Minister of Defense, and Chairman of the National Resistance 
Council.  Although he has avoided serious confrontations with 
major institutions and interest groups (including the parties), 
there are few meaningful checks and balances on his 
presidential power.  Museveni has publicly stated his 
opposition to multiparty politics, but he also has said 
repeatedly that he will accept such a system if it emerges from 
the deliberations on the new constitution.  In July the NRC, at 
Museveni's urging, restored Uganda's four kingdoms in cultural 
terms only (without political power), a move which won him 
support from the 4 million Baganda.

There are no restrictions in law on the participation of women 
in politics.  Women hold positions of responsibility at all 
levels of the Government and within some of the political 
parties, one of which (the UPC) has a woman as its highest 
acting official.  In the NRC, women hold 39 of the 264 
positions; 4 of the 39 government ministers, deputy ministers, 
and ministers of state are women.

Section 4  Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
           Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
           of Human Rights

Of 10 nongovernmental human rights organizations, 4 actively 
monitor human rights cases:  the Foundation for Human Rights 
Initiatives (FHRI), the Uganda Human Rights Activists, the 
Ugandan Law Society, and the Ugandan chapter of the 
International Women's Lawyers Association (FIDA).  In October 
FHRI published the first edition of its journal, The Human 
Rights Defender.  The Uganda Human Rights Activists publish a 
quarterly review of the human rights situation in the country 
and have moved toward an educational role in sponsoring 
seminars on human rights throughout the country.  The Law 
Society focuses on human and legal rights and defending the 
independence of the judiciary.  Members of the Society defend 
political figures indicted by the Government.  FIDA 
concentrates on cases involving women and children.  All of 
these groups operate without government interference.

In February President Museveni directed that human rights 
subcommittees be set up in the RC's in every district to 
monitor local human rights violations.  A Human Rights Desk was 
established in the Ministry of Justice to produce reports from 
these subcommittees.  The desk has begun functioning but has 
not produced any reports.

The NRC created the Uganda Human Rights Commission to 
investigate abuses perpetrated before 1986.  The Commission has 
heard public testimony from over 1,000 witnesses.  Its report 
is scheduled for release in March 1994.

The Government allows access to international human rights 
monitoring groups, but few such groups came to Uganda in 1993.  
However, ministers, attorneys (including the President of the 
American Bar Association), parliamentarians, and journalists 
from a wide variety of countries came to Uganda to investigate 
the human rights situation.

Internationally published reports on Uganda's human rights are 
given broad publicity in the private and official media.

Section 5  Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
           Disability, Language, or Social Status


Traditional discrimination against women continues, especially 
in rural areas.  "Customary" laws disadvantageous to women are 
still recognized in the areas of adoption, marriage, divorce, 
and devolution of property on death.  Women may not own or 
inherit property or have custody of their children under 
customary law.  Adultery by men is treated more leniently than 
adultery by women.  Women cannot sponsor a foreign-born spouse 
or the children of such a union for Ugandan citizenship, 
whereas foreign women who marry Ugandans and the children of 
those marriages automatically receive Ugandan citizenship. 
Women do most of the agricultural work but own only 7 percent 
of the land.

Domestic violence, including rape, is common, and there are no 
laws to protect battered women apart from a general law on 
assault.  Public and law enforcement officials view wife 
beating as a man's prerogative and rarely intervene in cases of 
domestic violence.  There are an increasing number of public 
education projects which emphasize a woman's right to be free 
of sexual exploitation, but to date they have had little effect.

The Government has made efforts to redress discrimination based 
on sex, including specific provisions in the draft constitution 
on women's rights and designating special women's seats in the 
Constituent Assembly that is to debate the constitution.  A 
Ministry of Women, Youth, and Culture was established in 1988, 
but it receives the smallest budget of any ministry.  The 
Ugandan branch of FIDA is currently undertaking a 3-year 
research and law reform program focusing on women (1992-95).  
FIDA opened a legal aid clinic in Kampala in early 1992 and 
provides free legal advice to women.  FIDA lawyers also provide 
information on Ugandan law to women in rural areas and carried 
out a project in writing wills to strengthen women's 
inheritance rights.


The Government has severely limited budgetary resources devoted 
to child welfare; however, the Uganda National Programme of 
Action for Children in the 1990's outlined priorities for 
social services development for children and women.  The 
1993/94 budget report by the Ministry of Finance noted the 
importance of primary education; health programs such as infant 
immunization, malnutrition, and disease and diarrheal control 
for children; a sensitization campaign for the public about the 
rights of children; resettlement of children from orphanages, 
and continued rehabilitation of children's custodial 

Child abuse continues to be a problem in Uganda.  A 1990 law 
defined the age of a minor victim of defilement as 13.  In 1993 
the NRC amended the law to cover all minor children under 18.  
Accusations of defilement and prosecutions under the law occur, 
but convictions and punishment are rare.  The press reports 
regularly on cases of defilement, with victims, mostly girls, 
of increasingly younger ages.  Observers attribute the growing 
number of reports of child beating and molestation to the 
breakdown of the traditional village family structure and to 
stresses induced by economic problems, alcohol abuse, and 
social dislocations.  A Ugandan chapter of the African Network 
for Prevention and Protection Against Child Abuse and Neglect 
formed in 1993 and began an educational campaign on the issue.

Female genital mutilation (circumcision) is not widespread, but 
some communities in eastern Uganda subject young females to 
it.  There is no law against the practice; the Government is 
working to stamp it out through education.  An international 
seminar in September, including the Government and the World 
Health Organization among its sponsors, publicly condemned the 

A large number of children have lost at least one parent to war 
or disease;  the number of orphans is thought to exceed 1 
million.  These children migrate to towns and trading centers 
and may be treated roughly by police or employers.  Corporal 
punishment is not condoned by the Government but is common in 
some schools.

     National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

Africans of about 40 ethnic groups constitute the vast majority 
of the population of Uganda, with tiny percentages of Asians 
and Europeans.  Asians, expelled by former president Idi Amin 
in the early 1970's, are returning to Uganda under the current 
Government's policy of adjudicating claims to confiscated 
property.  Ethnic divisions between Bantu-speaking peoples in 
the south and Nilotic speakers in the north have been 
aggravated by civil conflict since Uganda's independence.  
However, only a few minority populations have truly suffered 
discrimination, such as the Bakonjo of the Ruwenzori Mountains, 
who were once slaves within the traditional kingdoms, and the 
Karamajong, independent cattle herders in eastern Uganda 
described as violent and underdeveloped by other Ugandans.  
Neither of these groups participates fully in Ugandan society, 
government, or educational institutions.

     People with Disabilities

The Government has not legislated accessibility for the 
disabled.  The proposed Constituent Assembly is slated to have 
one representative for the disabled.  Provisions to protect the 
disabled are included in the draft constitution.  Widespread 
discrimination by society and employers limits job 
opportunities for those with physical disabilities; most are 
self-employed or are beggars.  Educational opportunities, 
however, exist for those who can afford standard school fees.  
A small office within the Ministry of Local Government tries to 
assist disabled Ugandans, but it is hampered by lack of funding.

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

Ugandan labor law is undergoing major reform.  Uganda has 
adopted a tripartite (government-employer-worker) cooperative 
approach to labor issues.  The Government, in the midst of 
structural adjustment, is reviewing its laws and institutions 
in the labor field and vetting them with the International 
Labor Organization (ILO).  In 1993 civil servants were 
permitted to join and form unions, a right previously reserved 
for private sector workers.  Certain categories of government 
employees are still not permitted to form unions; these include 
the police, army, permanent secretaries in the ministries, 
heads of departments and state-owned enterprises, school 
principals, and other management level officials.

The National Organization of Trade Unions (NOTU), with 15 labor 
unions, is the only labor federation in Uganda.  Proposed 
legislation will reaffirm a single umbrella organizational 
system, but will not prevent multiple unions within individual 
industries.  NOTU is independent of the Government and 
political parties.  It publishes a periodic newspaper on labor 
issues, NOTU Speaks.  NOTU's influence on the overall economy 
remains marginal since about 90 percent of the Ugandan work 
force consists of peasant farmers.  Even among industrial 
workers, high communications costs and lack of transportation 
have made it difficult for individual unions to organize, 
especially outside the major commercial centers of Kampala and 

The right to strike is recognized by law, but the Government 
expects all efforts at reconciling labor disputes to be 
exhausted before workers resort to strikes.  They must first 
submit their grievances and notice to strike to the Minister of 
Labor.  Under the Trades Disputes Arbitration and Settlement 
Act, an Industrial Court hears trade disputes referred to it, 
either by the Minister of Labor or the parties to the dispute.  
NOTU has proposed that the right to strike be recognized in the 
future constitution.  There is no law prohibiting retribution 
against strikers.  

At least 14 strikes occurred in 1993, including:  African 
textile mill workers and Sanwa electrical workers in April;  
the magistrates in Mbale in May; the Uganda Cooperative 
Transport Workers, lecturers at the National Teachers' College, 
Uganda Fisheries Enterprises workers, and Uganda Polytechnic 
lecturers and students in June; doctors and workers at the 
Kyamulibwa Medical Research Center in July; Nyanza textiles 
workers in August; laborers at the Kakira Sugar Estate and 
Crown Bottlers factory in September.  In September workers of 
GM Combined Uganda Ltd. (a detergent company) struck for 
payment of salary arrears, and workers of Match International 
went on strike for nonpayment of wages.  In October workers at 
the Mandela Freedom International Stadium at Namboole went on 
strike demanding higher wages.  The Uganda Cooperative 
Transport Workers Union sponsored the largest strike in 1993.  
Violence followed unsuccessful wage negotiations at the Kakira 
Sugar Estate, when some strikers burned over 2,000 acres of 
sugar cane and destroyed machinery.  The only strike that 
resulted in higher wages was that of the Kakira Sugar workers. 

A tripartite committee composed of NOTU, the Federation of 
Ugandan Employers, and government ministries is reviewing 
Uganda's labor legislation.  The Cabinet passed on to the NRC 
draft laws on employment and workers' compensation.  Other 
legislation on industrial trade unions, a minimum wage, social 
security, disputes and arbitration, occupational health and 
safety, and hygiene were in various stages of review at year's 
end.  "Labor" is slated to elect two representatives for seats 
in the future Constituent Assembly.

NOTU freely exercises the right to affiliate with and 
participate in regional and international labor organizations.

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

The right to organize and bargain collectively is recognized by 
law and established in practice.  On July 31, the law giving 
workers the right to form unions was liberalized to include 
civil servants and Bank of Uganda employees.

Agriculture is the backbone of the economy, employing 80 
percent of the population.  The modern sector employs only an 
estimated 400,000 persons.  The Government is the largest 
employer in the country.  According to the 1988-89 census, 
about 20 percent of all workers in Uganda are unionized.  While 
unionization and collective bargaining are common in the 
industrial wage sector, they are much less significant in the 
agricultural sector.  A National Union of Plantation and 
Agricultural Workers exists, but the vast majority of small 
cultivators organize themselves on the basis of cooperatives 
for the purpose of selling their crops.  Union officials are 
not harassed, and unions have access to the tripartite 
Industrial Court.  However, the Court suffers from lack of 
resources, and some of its decisions have been overruled by the 
Government.  There is no law prohibiting antiunion 
discrimination by employers.

There are no export processing zones.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

Compulsory labor is prohibited by law.  There is evidence, 
however, that forced prison labor is employed on private farms 
and construction sites.  There are no reports of forced labor 
in export industries.

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

Although employers are prohibited from employing workers below 
the age of 18, many children are employed in the informal 
sector out of economic necessity.  There is no child labor in 
the formal sector or export industries.  The Ministry of Social 
Services is charged with enforcing the law on child labor.  
There are no minimum education requirements.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

No explicit minimum wage policy exists in Uganda.  Wages are 
set by negotiation between unions and employers or by the 
boards of directors of state-owned industries.  Wages in 
general are low, and many civil servants and other workers find 
second jobs, grow their own food, or engage in pilferage or 
corruption in order to feed their families and pay school fees.

Although there is no legal maximum workweek, the normal 
workweek is 48 hours, and time and a half is paid for each 
additional hour worked.  The only occupational health and 
safety legislation in place is contained in the outdated 
Factories Act of 1954, which concentrates on engineering 
aspects of work and does not address many present-day working 
hazards.  It is enforced by the Ministry of Labor's Department 
of Occupational Health, but in practice little inspection takes 
place due to lack of resources.  A proposed law on occupational 
health and safety was sent to the ILO in Geneva for review in 

[end of document]


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