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TITLE: UGANDA HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1994
AUTHOR: U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DATE: FEBRUARY 1995









                             UGANDA


President Yoweri Museveni and his National Resistance Movement 
(NRM) continued to rule Uganda through the National Resistance 
Council (NRC) and an appointed Cabinet since taking power in 
1986.  The President dominated the Government, the NRC, and the 
extended transition process to constitutional government.  In 
March citizens elected individual members to a Constituent 
Assembly charged with debating and ratifying a constitution.  
The elections were open to all candidates and internationally 
recognized as reflecting the will of Ugandans, although 
political parties were not permitted to sponsor candidates.  At 
the end of the year, the Constituent Assembly had still not 
completed its work, and the Government extended the Constituent 
Assembly's mandate for an additional 6 months to June 1995.

The National Resistance Army (NRA) remains the key internal and 
external security force.  In rebuilding the police force, the 
Government reduced the NRA from 90,000 members in 1990 to under 
50,000 in 1994.  The Army, along with local defense units 
(LDU's), assists the police in rural areas.  The LDU's operate 
without a clear legal mandate.  The professionalism of the 
Ugandan police continued to improve, but police committed some 
human rights abuses, and much of the force remains ill-trained, 
poorly equipped, and corrupt.  In August the Government 
established a home guard force to assist with the 
counterinsurgency effort.

Beginning in February, the Government faced a renewed 
insurgency threat in the north from a group calling itself the 
Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), led by Joseph Kony, which 
committed egregious human rights abuses, including murder, 
rape, and kidnaping.  In countering the threat, there were also 
credible reports that the NRA and LDU's committed serious 
violations, including extrajudicial killings in March and 
detention of civilians without charge.

Primarily based on agriculture, the economy showed strong 
growth--about 4 percent--in 1993-94.  Coffee remained the chief 
export crop and foreign exchange earner, but modest increases 
in tobacco, cotton, and tea exports also contributed to the 
improved outlook.  Despite massive rural poverty, the 
Government continued to implement a tough economic reform 
program.  Uganda also continued to depend heavily on foreign 
aid, which amounted to 60 percent of government spending in 
1993-94.

Although the Government continued to pledge support for 
democracy and respect for human rights, it also carefully 
controlled the steps toward constitutional change.  The 
Government maintained prohibitions on certain political party 
activities and limited freedoms of speech, press, and peaceful 
assembly.  It arrested two politicians in March and two 
journalists in October on spurious sedition charges, and in 
August and September prohibited three seminars on 
constitutional issues.

In the renewed insurgency in the north, the LRA rebels 
committed most of the human rights abuses against civilians.  
In response to the threat, the NRA committed a number of 
serious abuses.  Elsewhere, army and police officials sometimes 
tortured criminal suspects, particularly after arrest, and 
beatings during interrogation were common.  The Government, the 
NRA, and the police took measures to increase the discipline, 
training, and, in some instances, punishment of security 
officials.  Both police and NRA officials responsible for human 
rights abuses were prosecuted for such violations, but the 
disciplinary measures varied from one command or magistrate to 
another.  Discrimination against women, domestic violence, and 
the rape of women and children remained serious social problems.

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

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

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

There were no known instances of political killings.  However, 
in the insurgency fighting there were a number of extrajudicial 
killings by both the NRA and insurgent forces (see Section 
1.g.).

There were also a few reported incidents in which village 
Resistance Council (RC-1) and LDU personnel tortured or killed 
criminal suspects.  For example, in November in Mengo, two RC-1 
officials and an LDU member reportedly tortured a suspected 
thief to death.

In handling an antitax demonstration in Iganga in January, 
during which angry demonstrators tried to overrun a police 
station, the police used excessive force by firing into the 
crowd, killing two persons.  However, press reports indicated 
that the police did not shoot unprovoked into the crowd.  The 
Government received the results of the official investigation 
of the incident on December 30.

     b.  Disappearance

There were no reports of disappearances.

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

NRA officials and police commonly beat suspected criminals, 
usually at the time of arrest or interrogation, and often for 
the purpose of forcing confessions.  There were also credible 
reports of isolated incidents in which security forces used 
other forms of torture.  The Government investigated some 
reported cases and tried and punished some offenders.

There were instances of mobs attacking suspected thieves and 
other offenders caught committing a crime.  These mobs engaged 
in stonings, beatings, and other forms of mistreatment, such as 
tying the suspect's wrists and ankles together behind the 
back.  The authorities rarely prosecuted persons engaged in  
administering mob justice.

Prison conditions remain harsh, due primarily to the nation's 
poverty and budgetary restrictions.  Uganda maintains two 
prison systems; one state-funded and run by the Ministry of 
Internal Affairs, and a second rural-based under the Ministry 
of Local Government.  Conditions are particularly harsh in the 
local prisons which receive no central government funding.  
These local administrative prisons, together with military 
prisons, have a very high mortality rate from overcrowding, 
diseases spread by unsanitary conditions, malnutrition, and 
AIDS, a disease which is pandemic among the general 
population.  In 1993 there were 508 prison deaths.  Juveniles 
are kept in prison with adults.  Women have segregated prisons, 
with female staff, and as a result rape does not appear to be a 
problem among women prisoners.

Pretrial detainees comprise over half of the prison 
population.  In August there were 11,761 total prisoners, of 
which 4,253 had been convicted, with over 7,500 held in 
pretrial detention.  In October, primarily to ease the 
overcrowding, the President pardoned 800 prisoners, including 
the terminally sick, the aged, and breast-feeding mothers, but 
excluded those charged with capital offenses.  The U.N. 
Development Program and nongovernmental organizations (NGO's) 
have started programs for training wardens, counseling 
prisoners, and providing supplementary food and drugs for AIDS 
victims in prison.

The Government permitted full access to prisons by the 
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and local 
NGO's, principally the Foundation for Human Rights Initiatives 
(FHRI) and the Law Society.  Prison authorities require advance 
notification of visits, a process that is often subject to 
administrative delays.

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

Under Ugandan law, a suspect must be charged within 24 hours of 
arrest and be brought to trial or released on bail within 240 
days (480 days for a capital offense).  The authorities 
enforced neither requirement.  Other extant laws, such as the 
Public Order and Security Act of 1967 (the Detention Order), 
provide for unlimited detention without charge, but these laws 
have never been invoked by the NRM Government.  Legal and human 
rights groups sharply criticized the excessive length of 
detention without trial, in many cases amounting to several 
years.  Acknowledging the problem, the Constituent Assembly 
reduced the length of detention to a maximum of 120 days (360 
for a capital offense) in the projected new constitution.

The Government detained both civilians and military personnel 
on suspicion of treason but did not formally charge anyone with 
treason in 1994.  The NRA detained approximately 170 civilians 
in northern Uganda for suspected collaboration with the LRA.  
Of these, it released 34 in October and November and 70 in 
early December.  Some persons had been held since February.  
The Government permitted both the ICRC and Amnesty 
International to visit the detainees.  The NRA held 26 rebel 
prisoners in Gulu at year's end.  The Government also 
temporarily detained journalists and political party leaders 
(see Sections 2.a. and 2.b.).

The Government does not use exile as a means of political 
control.  A presidential amnesty for former rebels remains in 
effect although those who return may be prosecuted for criminal 
acts they may have committed in the past.  Several prominent 
Ugandans returned from exile in 1994, including Sam Luwero, a 
former insurgent leader of the Uganda National Liberation Army, 
Aggrey Awori, a former ambassador, who was elected to the 
Constituent Assembly in March, Major General Yusuf Gowon, Chief 
of Staff under Idi Amin, and Col. William Omaria, Minister of 
State for Internal Affairs under former president Milton Obote.

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

Pending anticipated constitutional changes, the regular court 
system consists of magistrates courts, the High Court, and a 
Supreme Court.  The military maintains an independent system of 
courts-martial for military offenders.  The civilian judicial 
system contains procedural safeguards, including the granting 
of bail and appeals to higher courts.  While the judiciary is 
generally independent, the President has extensive legal 
powers, including the power to appoint the four members of the 
Judicial Service Commission which makes recommendations on High 
Court and Supreme Court appointments.  The Commission must 
concur in the dismissal of a magistrate.

In addition to the regular court system, the village RC-1's 
have the authority to settle traditional civil disputes, 
including land ownership and payment of debts.  The RC-1 
courts, often the only ones available to villagers, frequently 
exceed their authority by hearing criminal cases, including 
murder and rape.  RC-1 decisions may be appealed in magistrates 
courts, but often there are no records made of the case in the 
RC-1's, and many defendants are not aware of their right to 
appeal.

The right to a fair trial in Uganda has been circumscribed in 
recent years by an inadequate system of judicial administration 
and resources resulting in a serious backlog of cases, the 
reluctance of military authorities to respect civilian court 
orders, and the failure to provide due process safeguards in 
military courts.  The Commission of Judicial Inquiry, 
established in 1993 to investigate the mismanagement of 
criminal cases, criticized the excessive delays in the 
investigation and prosecution of cases by the police and the 
courts.  The Commission made extensive recommendations for more 
expeditious processing of cases, elimination of the legal 
provisions for lengthy detention, increased training and 
funding for police investigations, and restructuring of the 
office of public prosecution to oversee all criminal cases.

In June the High Court reported it had over 100 cases pending 
consideration.  Criminal cases may take 2 or more years to 
reach the courts.  Many defendants cannot afford legal 
counsel.  The Government provides attorneys for indigent 
defendants only for capital offenses.  The Ugandan Law Society 
operates legal aid clinics in four regional offices and assists 
military defendants as well as civilians.

The military court system does not assure the right to a fair 
trial.  Although the accused has the right to legal counsel, 
the defense attorney is often untrained and may be 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, but not to the High or Supreme Courts.

The number of political prisoners (as distinct from political 
detainees) held by the Government at year's end was unknown.  
The courts continued to process the appeals in approximately 12 
cases of past political convictions for treason.  In January, 
in the appeal case of Professor Isaac Newton Ojok, a former 
Minister of Education under Milton Obote, the High Court 
acquitted him, overturning his 1991 conviction for treason and 
sentence to death.  Similarly, the Supreme Court annulled the 
previous conviction (and death sentences) for treason in 1992 
of Hofni Topacho Ogentho, Noan Habbas, and Philip Aboth 
Kerunen; the three men were set free in March.  Also, in 
October the High Court acquitted Brigadier Opon Acak and Ahmed 
Oginy in one of the few remaining treason trials.  The trial of 
Colonel Ahmed Kashilling on the same charges was continuing at 
year's end.

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

The Government does not generally intrude in the privacy, 
family, or home of citizens.  The law requires that the police 
have search warrants before entering private homes or offices, 
and this law is generally observed in practice.  However, the 
police searched vehicles for weapons at checkpoints without 
prior warrants.

     g.  Use of Excessive Force and Violations of Humanitarian 
         Law in Internal Conflicts

There were new violations of humanitarian law, committed both 
by government forces, and especially by the Lord's Resistance 
Army (LRA), led by Joseph Kony.  Kony is estimated to have 
approximately 250 to 300 followers, although most of his 
support is reportedly gained through intimidation.  LRA rebels 
operate guerrilla-style in groups of 5 to 10; it is unclear 
what, if any, political goals the group seeks.  The LRA resumed 
attacks on officials and civilians in northern Uganda, killing, 
raping, and abducting large numbers of civilians, and burning 
homes, granaries and other property.  The group also mutilated 
some of its victims, cutting off limbs or disfiguring faces.  
Kony's rebels killed over 100 civilians and abducted over 230 
civilians in the February through October period.

Starting in August, the insurgents used land mines to block 
northern roads.  These mines interfered with humanitarian 
relief operations for southern Sudan and Sudanese refugee camps 
in northern Uganda.  Land mine explosions killed civilians as 
well as soldiers.  The NRA provided armed escorts to relief 
convoys after the United Nations and NGO's requested protection.

In responding to the attacks, the NRA reportedly committed 
similar abuses.  Newspapers reported that the NRA killed 5 
civilians in one village and 15 in another, raped women, and 
burned property in February and March.  In July, after the NRA 
changed army commanders in the north, military discipline 
improved, and some soldiers suspected of abuses were tried in 
courts-martial and punished.  Toward the end of the year, Kony 
and a number of his followers reportedly fled to Sudan.  The 
level of the insurgency was reduced, with few reported attacks 
by the rebels in the final quarter of the year.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

The NRM Government restricts freedom of political speech and 
the press in a variety of ways but has not invoked censorship 
laws from previous regimes.  Open debate occurs in the 
Constituent Assembly, in the NRC, in the press, and in many 
public forums.  While there is also direct criticism of 
President Museveni in the media, such public criticism of 
high-level officials, including the President, runs the risk of 
legal sanctions (see below).

Some 15 newspapers and magazines publish a wide range of 
viewpoints covering the political spectrum, including party 
newspapers.  The government-owned newspaper, the New Vision, 
accurately reported on corruption in government and human 
rights abuses.  The Government controls one television (UTV) 
station and a radio station, and in 1994 two private radio 
stations and one private television station began 
broadcasting.  Although these stations are not yet able to 
reach the entire country, in Kampala they have become far more 
popular than the government-run stations.  At year's end, all 
three private stations had fledgling news services and 
broadcast British Broadcasting Corporation or Voice of America 
news programs.  The Government has encouraged the development 
of the private media.  During the preelection period, UTV and 
Radio Uganda gave equal time to the NRM and the political 
parties to expound their views.

The Government restricted freedom of speech and the press by 
publicly harassing opposition leaders through short detentions 
and legal actions on vague sedition charges.  In March the 
police arrested two Uganda People's Congress (UPC) leaders and 
threatened acting UPC Secretary General Cecilia Ogwal with 
arrest for publishing the UPC party's manifesto for the 
election campaign.  The authorities released the two arrested 
politicians on bail, and Ogwal continued to campaign, winning 
her seat in the Constituent Assembly by a large majority.  In 
October police arrested Ogwal and another Constituent Assembly 
delegate, Patrick Mwondha, for attempting to address a crowd 
gathered in Iganga.  In April the police questioned the 
editorial staff of the Monitor newspaper and later arrested the 
Monitor's editor on charges of criminal libel for publishing a 
story critical of several cabinet ministers; they dropped the 
charges the following day.  The authorities arrested Teddy 
Cheeye, the editor in chief of Uganda Confidential, for failing 
to appear in court in violation of his bond for 1993 charges of 
sedition.  While Cheeye was able to publish regularly 
throughout the year, he continued to defend himself against 
several different lawsuits for publishing allegedly defamatory 
and seditious articles about the President and his wife, 
cabinet ministers, and other prominent Ugandans.

In September the NRC began to consider the Ugandan Mass Media 
and Press Bill, first introduced in 1991 and set aside several 
times for revision.  The journalists' associations have 
protested the bill's provisions for licensing all journalists 
and publications, the establishment of a media council to 
monitor and discipline journalists, and the instituting of 
district censorship boards.  The NRC rejected the bill as 
drafted and sent it to a committee which has consulted with 
journalists and other interested parties.  At year's end, 
revisions of the bill were still in progress.

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.  However, 
professors appear to exercise caution rather that test the 
limits of their academic freedom.  Students have sponsored 
wide-ranging political debates in open forums on campus.

The Museveni Government requires many government officials to 
take NRM political education and military science courses known 
as "Chaka Mchaka."  These courses seek to indoctrinate 
officials in the NRM positions, including Museveni's view 
against multiple political parties.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The Government restricts these freedoms despite constitutional 
guarantees.  It arbitrarily limits peaceful assembly by denying 
permits for public gatherings and barring rallies by political 
parties.  The police issue administrative permits for public 
gatherings but have the right to deny permits in the interest 
of public safety.  In August and September, police barred two 
seminars on federalism sponsored by the Crusade for 
Constitutional Governance, an NGO.  In the first instance, the 
police cited security reasons and refused to issue a permit for 
the outdoor meeting.  In the second, after granting the Crusade 
a permit for a September 25 seminar, the police revoked it just 
before the meeting was to begin.  In both instances, armed 
police officers cordoned off the meetings sites and refused 
entry to participants and the public.  Also, during the 1994 
election campaign, the Government did not permit Constituent 
Assembly candidates to hold individual rallies, nor permit 
political parties to call public meetings to support 
candidates.  The Government's statute for the elections 
prescribed the format of candidates' meetings, allowing all 
candidates equal time to address the public.

In February the election Commission withdrew accreditation from 
the National Organization for Civic Education and Monitoring 
(NOCEM), an umbrella group of 14 NGO's, for conducting civic 
education before the election, after the Commission received 
complaints from government officials that NOCEM was partisan.  
The Commission allowed NOCEM to continue its monitoring 
activities through the election in March.  NOCEM applied for 
registration as an NGO but was not registered before the year's 
end; all the member organizations of NOCEM had been previously 
registered.

     c.  Freedom of Religion

The 1967 Constitution and the draft constitution provide for 
freedom of religion, and the Government respects this right.  
There is no state religion, and a variety of religions are 
freely practiced.  While the Government requires religious 
groups to register as NGO's, it does not use this requirement 
to curtail religious activities by any group.

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

Growing insecurity in northern Uganda restricted freedom of 
movement due to bandit and rebel attacks on travelers, and, 
starting in August, the insurgents' use of land mines on 
northern roads.

Ugandans are free to emigrate and to travel abroad.  Uganda 
accommodates over 350,000 refugees from Sudan, Rwanda, Zaire, 
Somalia, and other countries.  The Government cooperated with 
the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other 
humanitarian organizations in assisting refugees.  There were 
no reports of forced expulsion of those having a valid claim to 
refugee status.  The Government signed an agreement with the 
UNHCR and Zaire in August, allowing for the repatriation of 
Ugandan refugees from Zaire.

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

Under the 1967 Constitution, citizens have the right to change 
their government, but they will not be able to exercise this 
right until the new constitution is in place and presidential 
and parliamentary elections are held.  In March the first 
generally free and fair election was held to elect 
representatives to the Constituent Assembly, charged with 
drafting and approving a new constitution.  Although political 
parties were not permitted to sponsor candidates or hold 
rallies, opposition party members could stand as individuals 
for elections, and many won seats (see Section 2.b.).  The 
282-member Assembly began deliberations in May on the new 
constitution, but did not complete its work by December as 
stipulated in the statute.  The NRC extended its mandate until 
June 1995.

President Museveni continued to hold power as Chief Executive, 
Minister of Defense, and Chairman of the National Executive 
Council.  In November the President appointed a new Cabinet 
that included members of all three major opposition parties, 
the Democratic Party, the United People's Congress (UPC), and 
the Conservative Party.  However, these Cabinet members' 
portfolios were generally less powerful than in the past.  
Also, there were few meaningful checks and balances on 
presidential power in place.  Museveni has repeatedly and 
publicly stated his opposition to multiparty politics but has 
said that he will accept such a system if it emerges from the 
deliberations on the new constitution.

The Government has encouraged the participation of women in 
government and allocated special seats for women in the NRC and 
the Constituent Assembly.  The President appointed Dr. Specioza 
Kazibwe as the first female Vice President in November.  Women 
hold positions of responsibility at all levels of 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 held 43 of the 264 positions, and 5 of the 48 government 
ministers and ministers of state are women.  There are 48 women 
in the Constituent Assembly.

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

The Government permits a variety of local NGO's concerned with 
human rights to operate, although it monitors these and related 
organizations if their activities touch prohibited political 
areas (see Section 2.b.).

Of 15 nongovernmental human rights organizations, 5 actively 
monitor human rights abuses:  The Foundation for Human Rights 
Initiatives, the Uganda Human Rights Activists, the Ugandan Law 
Society, the Ugandan Chapter of the International Women's 
Lawyers Association (FIDA), and Action for Development.  The 
FHRI regularly visits prisons to monitor conditions and 
supports penal reform efforts.  FIDA concentrates on cases 
involving women and children.  The Ugandan Human Rights 
Activists publish a quarterly report, which regularly reports 
on human rights abuses and prison conditions.  The Government 
does not interfere in the operation of these groups.

The Uganda Human Rights Commission, created by the Government 
to investigate human rights abuses prior to 1986, published a 
series of reports in October recommending both legal action in 
specific incidents of past human rights abuses and legal and 
administrative reform to prevent the recurrence of violations.  
In one case investigated by the Commission, 7 men were brought 
to trial in Mbarara in August for the murder of 16 Muslims in 
1979, shortly after the fall of Idi Amin.  The court released 
two of the seven for lack of evidence; it convicted five in 
October and sentenced them to death.

The Government allows access to Uganda by international human 
rights monitoring groups.  Amnesty International visited 
northern Uganda in November with full official cooperation.  
The Office of the Inspector General conducted three workshops 
for the army and police during the year, in conjunction with 
the Swedish Raoul Wallenburg Foundation, the ICRC, the UNHCR, 
and other NGO's.  The official and private media give broad 
publicity to published international reports on Uganda's human 
rights problems.

The Government created several bodies in 1994 to monitor human 
rights in Uganda.  Following a February 1993 presidential 
directive, the Resistance Councils in all districts set up 
human rights subcommittees to monitor local human rights 
violations.  A Human Rights Desk was established within the 
Ministry of Justice to produce reports from these 
subcommittees.  The Desk's first report for 1994 was still in 
progress at year's end.  The Human Rights Desk held workshops 
with the National Resistance Army in Kampala, Gulu and Mbale 
during 1994 and sponsored a workshop for RC-1 members on human 
rights issues in August.

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

The 1967 Constitution prohibits discrimination based on these 
categories, except in the case of disability.  The draft 
Constitution includes explicit reference to the disabled as 
well.

     Women

Traditional and widespread discrimination against women 
continues, especially in rural areas.  Many customary laws are 
disadvantageous to women 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.  Divorce law sets stricter evidentiary standards 
to prove adultery for women than for men.  Women cannot sponsor 
a foreign-born spouse or the children of such a union for 
citizenship, whereas foreign women who marry Ugandans and the 
children of those marriages automatically receive citizenship.  
Married women need their husband's signatures on their passport 
application forms before they receive a passport.  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.  Women are more likely to sue for divorce 
than to raise assault charges against their husbands while 
still married.

     Children

The Government has severely limited resources to devote to 
child welfare.  As a result of past civil war and the AIDS 
scourge, the number of orphans is thought to exceed 1 million.

Child abuse remains a serious problem.  Corporal punishment is 
common in some schools.  The press reports regularly on cases 
of rape, with victims, mostly girls, of increasingly younger 
ages.  In 1993 the NRC amended the law to define as minors 
those rape victims under the age of 18.  The Government 
occasionally prosecutes rape cases, but convictions and 
punishment are rare.  Observers attribute increasing reports of 
child beating and molestation to the breakdown of the 
traditional village family structure and to social dislocations 
caused by war and urbanization.

Female genital mutilation is not widespread, but it is 
practiced by some groups in eastern Uganda, notably the Sebei.  
There is no law against the practice.  The Government and 
women's groups are working to stop the practice through 
education.

     National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

Approximately 40 African ethnic groups constitute the vast 
majority of the population of Uganda, with tiny percentages of 
Asians and Europeans.  Asians, expelled by Idi Amin in the 
early 1970's, have continued to return 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 Pygmies and the Bakonjo of the Ruwenzori mountains, who 
were once slaves within the traditional kingdoms, and the 
Karamajong, independent cattle herders in eastern Uganda, whom 
other Ugandans consider to be violent and underdeveloped.  None 
of these groups participates fully in Ugandan society, 
government, or educational institutions.

     People with Disabilities

The law does not mandate accessibility to buildings or 
government services for the disabled.  Widespread 
discrimination by society and employers limits job and 
educational opportunities for those with physical 
disabilities.  A small office within the Ministry of Local 
Government tries to assist disabled Ugandans but lacks 
sufficient funding.

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

There is no single labor code, but a combination of laws 
provides for the right of workers to form unions, and since 
1993 this right has been extended to civil servants.  However, 
many "essential" 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), the largest 
labor federation, includes 15 unions and is independent of the 
Government and political parties.  NOTU's influence on the 
overall economy remains marginal, since about 90 percent of the 
work force consists of peasant farmers.  According to the 
1988-89 census, about 20 percent of an estimated 400,000 
workers in the industrial or modern wage sector of the economy 
are unionized.  There is almost no unionization in the large 
agricultural sector, much of which is subsistence farming.

At the end of the year, Ugandan labor law was undergoing major 
reshaping pending introduction of the new constitution.  A 
tripartite committee composed of several government ministries, 
NOTU, and the Federation of Uganda Employers, reviewed draft 
implementing legislation covering such subjects as a minimum 
wage, dispute resolution mechanisms, and occupational health 
and safety standards.

The law provides for the right to strike, but the Government 
insists that labor and management (often a government entity) 
make every effort to reconcile labor disputes before resorting 
to strike action.  If reconciliation is not possible, labor 
must submit its grievances and notice to strike to the Minister 
of Labor, who, under the Trade Disputes Arbitration and 
Settlement Act, has the option of referring the dispute to the 
Industrial Court.  There is no law prohibiting retribution 
against strikers.

There were at least 20 strikes among both unionized and 
nonunionized labor, including those by doctors and health 
workers, railway workers, teachers, university professors, and 
taxi drivers.

Labor unions freely exercise the right to affiliate with and 
participate in regional and international labor organizations.

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

The law provides for the right to organize and bargain 
collectively, but true collective bargaining takes place only 
in the small private sector of the modern (wage) economy.  In 
the modern sector, the Government is by far the largest 
employer (civil service and state-owned enterprises) and it 
dominates the bargaining process.  The Government has, however, 
adopted a tripartite (government-employers-labor) cooperative 
approach to setting wages and resolving labor issues.  Both the 
Government and employers may refer disputes to the Industrial 
Court.  The law does not prohibit antiunion discrimination by 
employers, but there were no reported incidents of government 
harassment of union officials.

There are no export processing zones.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

The law prohibits compulsory labor.  However, there is evidence 
that forced prison labor is employed on private farms and 
construction sites.

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

Employers are prohibited by law from recruiting workers below 
the age of 18, and there is no child labor in the formal 
sector, including the export industries.  However, many 
children are employed in the informal sector, often on family 
subsistence farms or, in urban areas selling small wares on the 
streets, or working as domestics.  The Ministry of Social 
Services is charged with enforcing the Law on Child Labor, but 
does so only in the industrial sector.  There are no minimum 
education requirements.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

Neither the law nor the Government sets an explicit minimum 
wage policy.  Wages are set by negotiation between unions and 
employers or by the boards of directors of state-owned 
industries.  Salaries are usually combined with other 
incentives (housing, transport allowances) which often equal 
base wages.  The Ministry of Labor's salary scale for civil 
servants starts with unskilled labor earning $44 to $77 per 
month (40,000 to 70,000 shillings), skilled labor (such as 
clerks or drivers) $55 to $133 per month (50,000 to 120,000 
shillings), supervisor $155 to $333 per month (140,000 to 
300,000 shillings), all with paid overtime.  The higher end of 
these salaries would begin to support a family.  However, wages 
in general are insufficient to support a family, and many civil 
servants and other workers must find second jobs, grow their 
own food, or seek other ways to feed their families.

Although there is no legal maximum workweek, the normal 
workweek is 40 hours, and time and a half is paid for each 
additional hour worked.

The only occupational health and safety legislation is 
contained in the outdated Factories Act of 1954, which does not 
address many present-day working hazards, such as permitting 
workers to excuse themselves from dangerous work situations 
without jeopardy to continued employment.  The Ministry of 
Labor's Department of Occupational Health is responsible for 
enforcement, but in practice inspections are rare.
(###)



[end of document]

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