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Title:  Uganda Human Rights Practices, 1995   
Author:  U.S. Department of State    
Date:  March 1996    
 
 
 

                            UGANDA 
 
 
President Yoweri Museveni and his National Resistance Movement (NRM) 
continued to rule Uganda through the acting parliament known as the 
National Resistance Council (NRC) and a Cabinet since taking power in 
1986.  The President dominated the Government, the NRC, and the extended 
transition process to constitutional government.  The Constituent 
Assembly (CA), elected in March 1994, completed its work in August and 
the new Constitution was promulgated in October 1995.  The Constitution 
formally extended the one-party state under the NRM for an additional 5 
years, with a referendum in the fourth year on whether Uganda should 
adopt a multiparty system.  Elections for the first Parliament and 
President under the new Constitution were postponed until 1996.  The 
judiciary is generally independent. 
 
Following the promulgation of the Constitution, the army (formerly the 
National Resistance Army) was renamed the Uganda People's Defense Force 
(UPDF) and placed under direct civilian authority.  The UPDF remains the 
key internal and external security force.  In a phased demobilization 
program, the UPDF reduced its numbers from 90,000 in 1990 to 
approximately 50,000 in 1995.  The army, along with local defense units 
(LDU's) assists the police in rural areas.  The LDU's continued to 
operate without a clear legal mandate.  The army also continued to use 
homeguard forces to help counter insurgent activities in northern 
Uganda.  At mid-year the army revamped the homeguard policy to put the 
force more directly under UPDF control.  At year's end, the Internal 
Security Organization (ISO) remained under the authority of the 
President, and although primarily an intelligence-gathering body, the 
ISO also has the power to arrest and detain people.  The police, the 
UPDF, and LDU's committed human rights abuses.  Two rebel groups 
increased the number and intensity of their attacks against the 
Government and civilians in the northern part of the country.  Assisted 
by Sudan, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) under Joseph Kony carried out 
larger scale operations than in the past.  In the northwest, the West 
Nile Bank Front under Col. Juma Oris began laying landmines on roads in 
July.  Both the LRA and the West Nile Bank Front committed human rights 
abuses.   
 
Primarily based on agriculture, the economy showed strong growth--about 
10 percent--in 1994-95.  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.  In the face of 
massive rural poverty and an estimated gross national product of $185 
per capita, the Government continued to implement a tough economic 
reform program.  Uganda also continued to depend heavily on foreign aid, 
which amounted to approximately 50 percent of government spending in 
1994-95. 
 
The Government's human rights record improved incrementally, but 
numerous, serious problems remain.  Citizens will not be able to 
exercise the right to change their government until presidential and 
parliamentary elections are held in 1996.  The new Constitution extended 
previously existing restrictions on political party activities for an 
additional 5 years, effectively limiting freedom of assembly and 
association.  The Government continued to restrict freedom of speech and 
of the press through outdated sedition laws and the detention of 
journalists, as well as by adopting a press law that stipulates 
licensing of journalists and a censorship board.  Police and LDU's 
sometimes tortured criminal suspects, particularly upon arrest.  
Beatings during arrest or interrogation were also common.  In a marked 
improvement over previous years, there were fewer reports of abuses 
against civilians by the UPDF in its counter-insurgency operations.  The 
Government took measures to improve the discipline and training of 
security forces, and in some instances punished security officials.  
Despite these efforts, police discipline remained a problem.  Prison 
conditions remain harsh.  Prolonged detention continues, although the 
Government took steps to address the problem.  Discrimination against 
women, domestic violence, and the rape of women and children remain 
serious problems. 
 
The LRA repeatedly carried out egregious violations of human rights, 
including the murder, rape, mutilation and abduction of hundreds of 
civilians.  In April the LRA massacred over 200 civilians in Atiak.  The 
West Nile Bank Front also committed serious human rights abuses.   
 
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 reports of politically targeted killings.   
 
There were a few reported incidents in which police, UPDF, and LDU 
personnel killed criminal suspects, sometimes after torturing them.  In 
July LDU officers shot and killed a secondary school student in police 
custody in Mityana.  In April in Kabarole district, credible reports 
indicate that Charles Byalega died in detention, after being tortured by 
UPDF officials.  Police initiated an investigation of the Mityana case, 
and the UPDF reportedly investigated the Byalega case, but the results 
were not made public.  Police also killed one person during a strike at 
the Lugazi Sugar Corporation in June (see Section 6.a.); one officer was 
charged with murder in connection with the incident.   
 
Both the UPDF and insurgent forces committed a number of extrajudicial 
killings (see Section l.g.). 
 
   b.   Disappearance 
 
There were no reports of politically motivated disappearances. 
 
   c.   Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or 
Punishment 
 
UPDF officials and police commonly beat and sometimes tortured suspected 
criminals, usually at the time of arrest or interrogation, often for the 
purpose of forcing confessions.  LDU's more often than police are 
accused of such mistreatment of prisoners and detainees.  Although LDU's 
have no training or legal authority to make arrests, they continued to 
do so in rural areas.  The Government investigated some cases and tried 
and punished some offenders. 
 
There were instances of mobs attacking suspected thieves and other 
offenders caught committing crimes.  These mobs engaged in stoning, 
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 lack of funds.  Uganda 
maintains two civilian prison systems:  one state-funded and run by the 
Ministry of Internal Affairs, and a second rural-based system under the 
Ministry of Local Government.  Conditions are particularly harsh in the 
133 local prisons which receive no central government funding.  Although 
the law states that civilians are not to be held in military barracks, 
some civilians were held in military prisons.  Both civilian and 
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.  Some juveniles 
are kept in prison with adults.  Women have segregated wings in the 
prisons, with female staff, and rape does not appear to be a problem 
among female prisoners. 
 
Pretrial detainees comprise over one-half of the prison population.  In 
July, of a total of approximately 11,000 prisoners in the central 
system, 4,000 had been convicted, and 7,000 were in pretrial detention.  
The average time in pretrial detention has declined, however, from about 
5 years in 1993 to about 2 years in 1995.  The Government has addressed 
the problem of lengthy detention by creating District Committees to 
review the cases of all prisoners to expedite their trials.  It has also 
begun a 3-year program to repair prison facilities, water and sanitation 
systems, and has increased the budgetary allocations for food and 
uniforms. 
 
The Government permitted full access to prisons by the International 
Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and local nongovernmental 
organizations (NGO's), principally the Foundation for Human Rights 
Initiatives (FHRI).  Prison authorities require advance notification of 
visits, a process that is often subject to administrative delays. 
 
   d.   Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile 
 
Under the 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 days for a capital offense) in the new 
Constitution. 
 
The exact number of political detainees and prisoners is not known.  One 
of the largest such groups was 130 people detained by the UPDF and 
police at Gulu, although this group is known to have included military 
discipline cases.  By year's end, less than 20 political detainees 
remained among the prisoners at Gulu with the other political detainees 
having been released.  The ICRC was allowed access to the Gulu 
detainees, although during the last 4 months of the year there was a 
delay in the Government's granting of permission for a visit.   
 
The Government also detained three journalists, one of whom died and two 
of whom were charged with sedition (see Section 2.a.). 
 
Approximately 300 former captives of the LRA (all civilians) voluntarily 
remain in a camp run by international NGO's.   
 
The Government does not use exile as a mean 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 1995, 
including Mustafa Idrissa, Vice President under Idi Amin; Masette Kuuya, 
Picho Owiny and Aliro Omara, former ministers under the second Obote 
government; and Colonel Gad Wilson Toko, former Vice President of the 
Military Council in 1980. 
 
   e.   Denial of Fair Public Trial 
 
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.  Under the new Constitution, Parliament will 
approve the appointment of the members of the Judicial Service 
Commission.   
 
The court system consists of magistrates' courts, the High Court, and a 
Supreme Court.  The new Constitution, promulgated in October, added a 
Court of Appeal but at year's end it had not been established.  The 
military maintains an independent system of courts-martial for military 
offenders.   
 
In addition to the regular court system, the local village councils have 
the authority to settle civil disputes, including land ownership and 
payment of debts.  These courts, often the only ones available to 
villagers, frequently exceed their authority by hearing criminal cases, 
including murder and rape.  Council decisions may be appealed in 
magistrates courts, but often there are no records made of the case at 
the village level, and many defendants are not aware of their right to 
appeal.  The civilian judicial system contains procedural safeguards, 
including the granting of bail and appeals to higher courts.  The right 
to a fair trial has been circumscribed in recent years by an inadequate 
system of judicial administration and resources resulting in a serious 
backlog of cases.  Criminal cases may take 2 years or more to reach the 
courts.  The Kampala High Court's efficiency improved, as it heard as 
many cases as possible to alleviate delays.  The Buganda Road Court 
began dismissing cases after 6 months if prosecutors were unable to 
compile sufficient evidence for trial, setting an example for other 
courts.  Many defendants cannot afford legal counsel.  The Government 
provides attorneys for indigent defendants only for capital offenses.  
The Uganda Law Society (ULS) 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, military defense 
attorneys are 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 ULS petitioned the Government to address the 
lack of an appeals process in military courts but received no response.  
The ULS gave the Government notice of its intent to pursue litigation on 
the issue in August. 
 
For the first time in several years, the Government arrested and charged 
persons with treason.  In the past, numerous human rights abuses were 
committed in connection with treason cases, including political 
detention, detention without charge, and mistreatment of prisoners.  
During the year, the Government charged at least 74 people with treason 
and related crimes.  Of the 74 people formally charged with treason, 63 
were accused of attempting to overthrow the Government by establishing a 
rebel training camp in Buseruka and ferrying arms to western Uganda (see 
Section l.g.).  Fifty-eight of the 63 were arrested and charged on 
August 3.  Two UPDF soldiers were charged with treason on May 29.  Two 
other UPDF soldiers were charged with treason and terrorism on July 21, 
as was businessman Salim Okulla.  Joseph Lusse, a prominent Kampala 
businessman, was charged with treason on May 9.  Francis Kilama, a radio 
telephone operator with Uganda National Parks, was charged with treason 
on June 2.  At year's end, the cases had not yet been brought to trial.   
 
The number of political prisoners is unknown.  The courts continued to 
process the appeals in approximately eight cases of past politically 
motivated treason  convictions.  In March Lieutenant Colonel Ahmed 
Kashillingi, a former UPDF officer charged with treason, was acquitted 
by the High Court.  Willy Mukama, Willy Logoko, and Sheik Kinyiri, who 
were convicted of treason in 1989, completed their prison sentences and 
were released in March.  In May the Supreme Court upheld the death 
sentence of Bright Gabula Africa, who was convicted of treason in 1993 
for plotting to overthrow the Government between 1987 and 1990. 
 
   f.   Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence 
 
The Government does not generally intrude in the privacy, family, or 
home of citizens.  Prison officials routinely censor the mail of 
prisoners.  The law requires that the police have search warrants before 
entering private homes or offices, and the police generally observed 
this law in practice.  However, the police sometimes improperly searched 
homes and vehicles without prior warrants. 
 
   g.   Use of Excessive Force and Violations of Humanitarian Law in 
Internal Conflicts 
 
With an increase in insurgent activity, reports of violations of 
humanitarian law increased dramatically compared to previous years.  
Rebel groups committed a greater number of abuses and on a larger scale 
than those committed by government forces. 
 
In February in Buseruka, Hoima district, the UPDF pursued a group of 
rebels who had killed two officers in an attack on a police station.  In 
the ensuing engagement at the rebels' camp, credible reports indicate 
that the UPDF used excessive force and killed at least 92 rebels.  Local 
authorities later arrested other members of the group, who had escaped 
from the camp with rifles and grenades.  The Government completed an 
investigation into the incident, but did not make the results public.  
In April and May, police and the Internal Security Organization were 
successful in breaking up the National Democratic Alliance, led by 
former army major Herbert Itongwa.  The group had kidnaped the Minister 
of Health in March and assassinated a police commander in February.  
According to a government spokesperson, the majority of the group's 16 
members were either arrested or killed during a series of armed 
confrontations between the police, LDU's, and the UPDF.  At year's end, 
Itongwa was still at large, but four members of the group were arrested.  
In December three were charged with plotting to overthrow the Government 
and remained in remand in Luzira Prison at the end of 1995.   
 
In north-central Uganda, the Lord's Resistance Army, an insurgent group 
under the leadership of Joseph Kony, continued to kill, maim, rape, and 
abduct large numbers of civilians.  They terrorized civilians with 
tactics that included cutting off noses and ears and breaking legs with 
hammers.  In April approximately 250 soldiers of the LRA attacked the 
villages of Lokung and Atiak and massacred over 200 villagers.  They 
also destroyed 360 homes and abducted more than one 100 children.  In 
July and August, in a series of raids throughout the district of Kitgum, 
about 500 LRA rebels abducted hundreds of young people, some, at least, 
reportedly to be traded as slaves for weapons in Sudan.  LRA rebels 
planted landmines on roads in Gulu and Kitgum District throughout the 
year, killing and wounding dozens of civilians.  Mines on the few roads 
to the border hinder the transport of food to more than 100,000 Sudanese 
refugees and displaced persons in camps near the border.   
 
In the northwestern region bordering Sudan and Zaire, a new insurgent 
group, the West Nile Bank Front under Juma Oris, laid landmines on major 
roads used for relief shipments to refugee camps as well as for local 
commerce. 
 
Section 2   Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: 
 
   a.   Freedom of Speech and Press 
 
The Constitution provides for freedom of speech and of the press, but 
the Government restricts these rights in practice.  Open debate occurred 
in the CA and the NRC, as well as in most public forums.  However, 
following the outbreak of violence at a rally in a suburb of Kampala, 
the Ministry of Internal Affairs issued a series of assembly guidelines 
in July, restricting the ability of CA delegates to speak outside their 
constituencies.  Police and local officials subsequently cancelled over 
17 events at which both supporters of the National Resistance Movement 
and advocates of a multiparty system were scheduled to speak.  In July 
Zubairi Atamvaku, a CA delegate and university lecturer who was sharply 
critical of the Government, fled the country after alleging harassment 
by government security forces. 
 
The Government continued to detain and charge journalists with sedition, 
creating a climate in which some journalists felt pressure to practice 
self-censorship.  A total of 23 newspapers and magazines, including 
party newspapers, publish a wide range of viewpoints covering the 
political spectrum.  Many print media outlets accurately reported on 
corruption in government and human rights abuses.  The Government 
controls one televison station and a radio station (Radio Uganda).  The 
number of private television and radio stations continued to increase.   
 
During the year police arrested three journalists, two of which were 
subsequently charged with sedition.  In April police arrested Lawrence 
Kiwanuka, editor of the Democratic Party's Citizen, for an article 
critical of the ISO.  He fled to Kenya after his release on bail, 
fearing that he would be arrested for treason for his association with 
rebel leader Major Itongwa, and that his life was in danger.  The two 
colleagues who offered surety for Kiwanuka's bail were later arrested 
and held for a week when they were not able to pay the bond.  Hussein 
Musa Njuki, editor of the weekly Islamic newsletter "Assalaam," died 
shortly after his arrest on August 25 before the sedition charge could 
be filed.  Njuki was not in good health, and the shock of the arrest may 
have exacerbated his medical condition.  There was no evidence of 
torture or physical abuse by the police.  Haruna Kanaabi, editor of the 
Islamic Shariat newsletter, was arrested on the same day as Njuki and 
charged with sedition.  In September the magistrate denied bail for 
Kanaabi, citing the flight of Kiwanuka earlier in the year.  Kanaabi's 
trial concluded in November, and he was found guilty.  He was credited 
with the time already spent in jail, and on December 28, after paying a 
fine of $50 in lieu of an additional year in jail, he was released.  
Teddy Cheeye, editor of the Uganda Confidential, was acquitted in June 
of 1993 charges of sedition. 
 
The NRC passed a Press Bill in May after 4 years of debate on various 
drafts.  The final legislation, criticized by the media, requires that 
journalists be licensed and meet minimum qualifications, including a 
university degree.  The new law provides for a Media Council to monitor 
and discipline journalists.  The law also gives the NRC power to suspend 
newspapers and to deny access to state information. 
 
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 than test the limits of their academic freedom.  
Students have sponsored wide-ranging political debates in open forums on 
campus, although at least one student-sponsored seminar was blocked by 
local police in Rakai district in July. 
 
The Government requires many students and government officials to take 
NRM political education and military science courses known as "Chaka 
Mchaka."  These courses have been criticized because they seek to 
indoctrinate officials in NRM positions, including the view that 
political parties were responsible for Uganda's civil conflicts before 
1986.  There were unconfirmed reports that the techniques used in some 
of the courses included intimidation, physical and mental abuse, and 
sexual harassment.   
 
    b.   Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association 
 
The Government restricts these freedoms despite constitutional 
guarantees.  The CA maintained in the new Constitution existing 
restrictions on political party activity to continue through the next 
general elections and a 5-year extension of the "movement system" of 
government.  While the movement system is in power, political parties 
are not permitted to hold rallies or sponsor candidates, nor are they 
allowed to hold national conventions of their membership or open branch 
offices outside the capital. 
 
The Government arbitrarily limits peaceful assembly by denying permits 
for public gatherings and barring rallies by opposition politicians.  
The police issue administrative permits for public gatherings, but have 
the right to deny permits in the interest of public safety.  The police 
prevented or dispersed at least 13 rallies, seminars, and other public 
events organized by opposition leaders, including Democratic Party 
President Paul Ssemogeere, Uganda People's Congress Acting Secretary 
General Cecilia Ogwal, the newly organized National Freedom Party, and 
profederalist activists. 
 
NGO's are required to register with the Ministry of Internal Affairs.  
While the Government generally approves NGO registration, it delayed 
registering the National Organization for Civic Education and Monitoring 
for two years.  This umbrella group, comprised of 14 NGO's, was formed 
in 1993 to monitor elections. 
 
   c.   Freedom of Religion 
 
The Constitution provides for freedom of religion and the Government 
respects this right in practice. 
 
   d.   Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign Travel, 
Emigration, and Repatriation 
 
The Constitution provides for these rights, and the Government respects 
them in practice.  A married woman needs her husband's signature on her 
passport application if children are traveling on the mother's passport.   
 
The Government cooperated with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees 
and other humanitarian organizations in assisting refugees.  There were 
no reports of forced expulsion of those having a valid claim to refugee 
status. 
 
Uganda accommodates over 346,800 refugees from Sudan, Rwanda, Zaire, and 
other countries.   
 
Section 3   Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens to 
Change Their Government 
 
Citizens have the constitutional right to change their government, but 
will not be able to exercise this right until presidential and 
parliamentary elections are held in 1996.  The National Resistance 
Movement Government extended its mandate until a new parliament and 
president are elected. 
 
The NRM majority in the CA voted to continue the existing NRM 
restrictions on political party activity for at least 5 years under the 
new Constitution, with a public referendum after 4 years to determine 
whether Uganda should adopt a multiparty system (see Section 2.b). 
 
President Museveni continued to hold power as Chief Executive, Minister 
of Defense, and Chairman of the National Executive Council.  He ruled 
along with a 48-member Cabinet and the National Resistance Council, the 
acting parliament which included both indirectly elected and appointed 
members.  There remained few meaningful checks and balances on 
presidential power; the new Constitution provides for checks on 
presidential power by an elected Parliament, however, parliamentary 
elections were not scheduled until 1996.  The President has been 
publicly critical of multiparty politics and used his influence within 
the CA to postpone the establishment of political parties.  In October 
under pressure to allow open participation in the political process 
prior to parliamentary and presidential elections, the Government 
disbanded its Focal Point Committees, which had been organized at the 
local level to promote NRM candidates.   
 
The Government has encouraged the participation of women in government 
and allocated special seats for women in the NRC and the CA.  The new 
Constitution continues to provide for special women's representation in 
the new Parliament.  Although they remain in the minority, women hold 
positions of responsibility at all levels of government, from the Vice 
President to local resistance councils.  The CA had 48 women delegates 
and there are 39 women's representatives in the NRC.  There were six 
women in the Cabinet, including the Vice President.   
 
Section 4   Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human Rights 
 
A variety of human rights groups including the Foundation for Human 
Rights Initiatives (FHRI), a women's legal association (FIDA), and the 
National Women's Organization of Uganda, operate without government 
restriction, investigating and publishing their findings on human rights 
cases.  HURINET, the Human Rights Network, an umbrella organization for 
nine human rights organizations active in the country, began publishing 
a quarterly human rights newsletter in January.  Government officials 
are generally cooperative and responsive to NGO views, although some 
NGO's complained of periodic harassment by government officials.  The 
Government allowed access by international human rights NGO's, UNHCR, 
and the ICRC.  The new Constitution established a Human Rights 
Commission as a permanent independent body with the powers of a court.  
At year's end, however, members of the Commission had not yet been named 
by the President and approved by Parliament.   
 
Section 5   Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, Disability, 
Language, or Social Status 
 
The Constitution prohibits discrimination based on these factors, but 
the Government does not effectively enforce the law in matters of local 
or customary discrimination against women, children, people with 
disabilities, or certain ethnic groups. 
 
   Women 
 
Violence against women, 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.  In November the police set up a special 
gender issues desk and trained the first of 60 officers in investigative 
techniques and preventive measures for cases of rape.   
 
Traditional and widespread discrimination against women continues, 
especially in rural areas.  Many customary laws discriminate against 
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.   
 
Women do most of the agricultural work but own only 7 percent of the 
land. 
 
There are active women's rights groups, including FIDA, Action for 
Development (ACFODE), and the National Women's Organization of Uganda, 
which promote greater awareness of the rights of women and children.  
FIDA is conducting a 3-year project to reform outdated and 
discriminatory laws. 
 
   Children 
 
The Government has devoted only limited resources to children's welfare.  
The Government introduced a children's bill to consolidate laws relating 
to children to provide for their care, protection, and maintenance, and 
establish a Family and Children's Court.  However, the bill had not been 
passed by the NRC by year's end.  The 1991 census put the number of 
orphaned children at 1.2 million (in Uganda, children missing one or 
both parents are considered orphans).  The high number of orphans is 
attributed to past civil war and AIDS.  Girls and boys have equal access 
to education, but families are more likely to enroll their sons in 
school and to continue supporting their education. 
 
Child abuse remains a serious problem, particularly rape of young girls 
known locally as "defilement."  Only a small fraction of the cases are 
reported, especially when the perpetrator is a family member.  Few cases 
reach the courts, with conviction and punishment rare.  Corporal 
punishment is common in some schools.  In May a teacher and headmistress 
gave a 9-year-old boy 130 strokes of the cane, which received extensive 
media attention and prompted widespread public debate on the issue.  The 
teachers were charged with assault; the court case was still in progress 
at year's end. 
 
Female genital mutilation which is widely condemned by international 
health experts as damaging to both physical and psychological health, is 
not widespread but 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.   
 
   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. 
 
The new Constitution confirmed the right to strike, but government 
policy requires that labor and management 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 approximately two dozen strikes by both unionized and 
nonunionized labor, including taxi drivers, bankers, teachers, doctors, 
health care workers, and tea and sugar factory workers.  The only 
violent strike occurred in June, when police opened fire on striking 
workers at the Lugazi Sugar Corporation, killing 1 person and injuring 
10; 1 police officer was charged with murder following the incident.  In 
a landmark court decision, the High Court upheld the Industrial Court's 
award of payment of salary increases dating back to 1993 to employees of 
six foreign-owned banks.  Bank employees went on strike in May after 
bank management refused to honor the April decision by the Industrial 
Court, and again in August following the decision of the High Court.  
Representatives of the bank workers and management signed an agreement 
outlining a 4-year payment schedule for the higher salaries.  Following 
a strike by the Uganda Medical Workers Association in September, three 
union leaders were arrested and charged with neglect of duty and 
disobeying lawful orders; they were released on bail.  At year's end, 
the case was pending. 
 
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 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 
prison officials force prisoners to work on private farms and 
construction sites. 
 
The International Labor Organization cited the government's failure to 
report on the Convention on Forced Labor. 
 
   d.   Minimum Age for Employment of Children 
 
Employers are prohibited by law from employing 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 educational 
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 allowance) 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), and supervisors 
$155 to $333 per month (140,000 to 300,000 shillings), all include 
provisions for paid overtime.  The higher end of this scale 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.  The act does not permit 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. 

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[end of document]

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