Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom from:
a. Arbitrary Deprivation of Life and other Unlawful or Politically Motivated Killings
There were several reports the government or its agents committed arbitrary or unlawful killings, including as a result of torture.
Media outlets reported that, on November 26 and 27 in Kasese District, the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) and Uganda Police Force (UPF) killed between 60 and 250 persons, including unarmed civilians, during clashes with supporters of Charles Wesley Mumbere, the Rwenzururu king. According to the UPF, on November 26, the king’s royal guards attacked an unspecified number of police stations in Rwenzori Region, resulting in the deaths of 14 police officers; 41 royal guards also were killed. The following day security forces reportedly stormed the palace and arrested the king after he failed to comply with a UPDF order to surrender his royal guards to the military. According to unconfirmed reports, security forces killed women and children who were on the compound during the raid, and several bodies were found with bound hands, possibly indicating victims had submitted to arrest before being killed. Amnesty International reported that “many people appeared to have been summarily shot and their bodies dumped.” One international organization alleged security forces made no attempt to minimize civilian casualties, an assertion security forces did not dispute.
UPDF officers claimed soldiers fired in self-defense after royal guards attacked them with machetes, bows and arrows, and spears. Civil society and international organizations claimed the government’s disproportionate use of force was unjustified and that the Rwenzururu Kingdom presented no immediate security threat. The government claimed the kingdom had militant secessionist ambitions, which forced it to take immediate and definitive action.
In addition to the king, 139 royal guards were arrested and charged with murder, terrorism, and treason. On December 15, media published images of the guards at their initial hearing, where defense lawyers asserted their visible injuries resulted from torture. Media reported the president ordered a parliamentary committee tasked with investigating the raid to stop its investigation. The Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) had not completed its investigation into the raid by year’s end. Trials of the king and his guards continued at year’s end.
On October 17, media reported game rangers attached to the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) killed seven unarmed, suspected poachers. Reports asserted the park rangers facilitated the poachers’ hunts in exchange for a portion of the revenue and then killed the seven for failing to pay the rangers their promised share. The UWA denied its staff was involved in the killings and said the UPF was investigating.
Local leaders and civil society organizations reported that police had yet to take action against officers who in September 2015 allegedly shot and killed five persons in Apaa Parish in the north. The killings occurred during a land dispute related to the government’s border demarcation.
There were no known developments in the investigation into the African Union’s August 2015 indictment of three UPDF soldiers for their alleged role in the July 2015 killing of seven civilians at a wedding party in Marka, Somalia. Media reported the killings occurred following a bomb attack on an African Union Mission in Somalia convoy.
There were no reports of politically motivated disappearances during the year.
Following the December 2015 disappearance of Christopher Aine–campaign aide to Amama Mbabazi, a former prime minister and presidential candidate–police offered a reward of 20 million shillings ($5,700) for information on his whereabouts, ostensibly to question him about his involvement in a clash between President Museveni’s supporters and security team. On April 7, a local television station aired footage of Aine with General Caleb Akandwanaho (aka Salim Saleh), the president’s brother, and a senior advisor at a Kampala hotel. Aine said he had fled to Tanzania in December 2015 to escape harassment and intimidation by state security operatives.
c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
The constitution and law prohibit such practices. The 2012 Antitorture Act stipulates that any person convicted of an act of torture may be subject to 15 years’ imprisonment, a fine of 7.2 million shillings ($2,050), or both. The penalty for conviction of aggravated torture is life imprisonment. Nevertheless, there were credible reports security forces tortured and beat suspects.
From January to June, the African Center for Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture Victims (ACTV) registered 856 allegations of torture by police, the Flying Squad (a UPF unit assigned to violent crimes), special investigations units of police, and the UPDF. The ACTV provided legal advice to 142 torture victims and initiated three public litigation cases of torture against the government.
The ACTV reported that Twaha Kasaija, whom marine police arrested for theft on March 23, was tortured to death at Walukuba Police Station. According to the ACTV, Kasaija’s injuries suggested he was punched, kicked, and beaten with batons, wire cable, and sticks. Kasaija’s brother, Abdul Rahman Muyima, and neighbor, Mohammed Kitakule, also were arrested and appeared to have been beaten with batons, wire cable, and sticks. Police arrested officers Patrick Katete and Charles Okure (the officer in charge) but later released Okure on bond; Katete remained in jail awaiting trial on murder charges at year’s end.
The UHRC reported it awarded 36.6 million shillings ($10,450) in compensation to victims of torture and other abuses from January through June.
PRISON AND DETENTION CENTER CONDITIONS
Prison conditions remained poor and, in some cases, life threatening. Serious problems included overcrowding, physical abuse of detainees by security staff and fellow inmates, inadequate food, and understaffing. Local human rights groups, including the ACTV, received reports of torture by security forces and prison personnel. Reports of forced labor continued. Most prisons did not have accommodations for persons with disabilities.
Physical Conditions: Gross overcrowding remained a problem. According to the Uganda Prisons Service (UPS), the prison system had a maximum inmate capacity of 22,000 but incarcerated 48,689. The Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI), which had visited 13 police stations and 13 prisons by August, reported that four of the five prisons in the north were particularly overcrowded. Gulu Prison, for example, held 1,400 inmates in a facility designed for 400. Prison authorities blamed the overcrowding on the criminal justice system’s inability to process cases in a timely manner.
As of August, 233 babies stayed in prison with their mothers. Some women’s prisons also had day-care facilities. Authorities in Kampala separated pretrial detainees from convicted prisoners, but prisons in other areas did not.
The UPS reported 67 inmate deaths between January and August. Causes of death included malaria, cardiac arrest, anemia, pneumonia, and tuberculosis. Media reported deaths also occurred as a result of suicide and police abuse.
In interviews with prisoners, FHRI received reports of prison staff and fellow inmates beating and abusing prisoners, although there were fewer such reports than in previous years. In Koboko Prison, for example, guards reportedly assigned certain inmates leadership positions and gave them sticks, which they often used to beat fellow prisoners.
The UHRC inspected 106 of the country’s 247 prisons and four military detention facilities during the year. It found that prisons in Koboko and Nebbi districts did not have health centers, requiring inmates to walk long distances, under guard, to access medical care. Outside Kampala, some prisons lacked sufficient food, water, medical care, means to transport inmates to court, bedding, infrastructure, and sanitation facilities.
Provision of food and medical services in jails also was inadequate. According to detainees and guards at the 13 police stations FHRI had visited by August, detainees received only one meal per day. According to the UHRC, which inspected 183 of 300 police stations during the year, some stations did not provide meals to suspects and most lacked the means to transport suspects to court.
Administration: Recordkeeping remained a problem. The UPS claimed it was unable to manage information because it lacked computers.
The UPS reported that its assistant commissioner in charge of human rights investigated and mediated complaints between management and prisoners. The UPS added that each prison had a human rights committee responsible for addressing complaints and relaying them to the assistant commissioner. Prison authorities acknowledged a backlog in the investigation of complaints.
Independent Monitoring: Authorities allowed FHRI and the ACTV to conduct prison visits with advance notification. The International Committee of the Red Cross declined to comment on whether it conducted prison visits during the year.
Improvements: During the year prison authorities hired 1,548 new staff–mainly wardens, cadet principal officers, and cadet assistant superintendents of prisons–increasing the total number of UPS staff to 7,448. The UPS acknowledged, however, that it still had a staff shortage of 5,000. The UPS also installed flush toilets in 47 of the 58 prisons, constructed four new prisons, and renovated two others. Unlike in the previous year, women had separate facilities in all prisons. The UPS had a budget to accommodate pregnant women and mothers with infants, and pregnant mothers received antenatal care services and special diets.
d. Arbitrary Arrest or Detention
Although the constitution and law prohibit such practices, security forces often arbitrarily arrested and detained persons, including opposition leaders, politicians, activists, demonstrators, and journalists.
ROLE OF THE POLICE AND SECURITY APPARATUS
Under the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the UPF has primary responsibility for law enforcement. The UPDF, under the Ministry of Defense, is responsible for external security and may aid civil authorities when responding to riots or other disturbances of the peace. The Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence is legally under UPDF authority and may detain civilians suspected of rebel or terrorist activity. Other agencies with law enforcement powers include the Directorate of Counter Terrorism, Joint Intelligence Committee, and Special Forces Brigade, among others.
The UPF reported its ability to perform its law enforcement duties was constrained by limited resources, including low pay and lack of vehicles, equipment, and training. The UPF’s Professional Standards Unit investigated complaints of police abuse, including torture, assault, unlawful arrest and detention, death in custody, mismanagement of case documentation, and corrupt practices. Police continued to use excessive force, including torture, and impunity was a problem (see sections 1.a. and 1.c.).
Between January and August, police ignored the instruction of the director of public prosecution (DPP) to add Aaron Baguma, former commander of Kampala’s Central Police Station, to the list of suspected accomplices in the October 2015 killing of Donah Katusabe, a Kampala businessperson. On August 30, 12 days after the court issued an arrest warrant for Baguma, he turned himself in and was charged with murder, kidnapping with intent to murder, and robbery. The court, which remanded him to Kigo Prison, subsequently released him on bail. The case continued at year’s end.
Police and soldiers not only failed to prevent societal violence, they sometimes targeted opposition supporters. For example, on July 12 and 13, media broadcast videos of police, soldiers, and plainclothes officers using sticks to beat unarmed supporters of the main opposition leader, Kizza Besigye, as his car passed on a Kampala street; they also beat motorcycle taxi drivers who appeared uninvolved in Besigye’s procession. In one instance a police truck veered onto a sidewalk to hit from behind and knock over a man waving at Besigye’s passing vehicle. Police arrested Benon Matsiko, an officer, for allegedly driving the truck, noting he would face internal disciplinary measures; Matsiko denied he was the driver. Another man–who media members subsequently identified as Yusuf Lubowa, a member of a progovernment civilian group called Bodaboda 2010–then kicked the fallen man in the same knee struck by the vehicle. Although media reports showed that Lubowa had participated in multiple police operations against Besigye supporters, the UPF claimed it did not know him. Police initiated an internal disciplinary proceeding and charged five officers and four commanders with unlawful exercise of authority and discrediting the reputation of police. There was no known update on these cases by the end of the year.
Private lawyers separately filed a criminal case against Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kale Kayihura and seven senior commanders, accusing them of torture for their role in the July 12 and 13 beatings. On July 21, a magistrate’s court issued criminal summonses for IGP Kayihura and the seven senior police officers to appear on August 10 for arraignment on charges of torture. According to the private prosecution lawyers, the officers refused to receive the summonses, and none appeared in court. On August 26, Deputy Chief Justice Steven Kavuma halted the criminal case against Kayihura and the other officers, stating the case could not proceed until the court resolved NRM Youth League member Robert Rutaro’s petition that challenged the court’s authority to try the IGP as a private citizen for actions he took in his institutional role. By year’s end, the court had not resolved the petition.
The UHRC reported it provided human rights training to 232 security officials in police and district administrations of Fort Portal, Mbarara, and Arua districts.
The UPF reported that it opened an unspecified number of new community police stations to expand its community policing operations. In 2015 it authorized civilians to police their respective communities as “crime preventers.” Crime preventers, nominally under the authority of district police commanders, received one to two months of training and have arrest authority. While estimates of their number varied, the IGP claimed there were 11 million crime preventers nationwide, equating to approximately one-third of the country’s population. UPF officials stated they intended to place 30 crime preventers in each village in the country. Media and civil society reports accused crime preventers of human rights abuses. On April 18, for example, the chief administrative officer of Lira District said his office had received many reports of crime preventers involved in rape, arbitrary arrests, and torture.
ARREST PROCEDURES AND TREATMENT OF DETAINEES
The law requires that judges or prosecutors issue a warrant before an arrest is made, unless the arrest is made during commission of a crime or while in pursuit of a perpetrator. Nevertheless, authorities often arrested suspects without warrants. The law requires authorities to charge suspects within 48 hours of arrest, but they frequently held suspects longer without charge. Authorities must try suspects arrested under the Antiterrorism Law within 120 days (360 days if charged with a capital offense) or release them on bail; if the case is presented to the court before the expiration of this period, there is no limit on further pretrial detention. While the law requires authorities to inform detainees immediately of the reasons for detention, at times they did not do so. The law provides for bail at the discretion of the judge, but many suspects were unaware of the law. Judges generally granted requests for bail. The law provides detainees the right to legal representation and access to a lawyer; but this right often was not respected. The law requires the government to provide an attorney for indigent defendants charged with capital offenses. Citizens detained without charge may file civil suit against the Attorney General’s Office for compensation for unlawful detention. Security forces held suspects, particularly opposition leaders, incommunicado and under house arrest.
Arbitrary Arrest: Arbitrary arrests, particularly of opposition leaders, remained a problem. Police often carried out “preventative arrests” for alleged treason and incitement of violence.
On February 24, the day of local government elections, police detained opposition candidate Besigye at his home, effectively denying him the right to vote. Following the February elections, police intermittently placed Besigye under 10-day house arrests. Police reportedly confined him to his home for the entire month of March, releasing him on April 1, the day the Supreme Court validated the president’s electoral victory. Despite widespread media and nongovernmental organization (NGO) reporting, the UPF repeatedly denied Besigye was under house arrest, and the IGP claimed police were merely “closely monitoring Besigye’s movements.” Media reported that on May 5, police resumed Besigye’s house arrest and confined Kampala’s opposition-affiliated mayor, Erias Lukwago, and opposition chief whip Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda to their homes.
On May 11, Besigye eluded police surveillance at his home and drove to Kampala’s city center, where he was filmed taking a mock presidential oath of office in front of a crowd of protesters. Police arrested Besigye and flew him to the remote Karamoja Region in the northeast, where they detained him at the Moroto Police Station. Two days later, Besigye was charged with treason and remanded to Moroto Prison. On May 16, he was transferred to Luzira Prison in Kampala after defense lawyers and his family asked for a transfer. He remained in detention until July 12, when the court released him on bail. Besigye’s treason case continued at year’s end.
Pretrial Detention: Case backlogs due to an inefficient judiciary that lacked adequate funding and staff, the absence of plea bargaining prior to 2015, and insufficient use of bail contributed to pretrial detentions as long as seven years. The UPS reported 55 percent of inmates were pretrial detainees. The judiciary introduced a plea bargaining mechanism at High Court circuits across the country in 2015 after a successful pilot program in 2014.
FHRI reported police arrested Moses Tumusime in 2008 on murder charges. He last appeared in court in 2008 and remained in custody in Kitalya Prison. In November the officer in charge of the prison reported Tumusime was still held on remand and that his file was sent to the High Court in 2012.
Detainee’s Ability to Challenge Lawfulness of Detention before a Court: Persons arrested have the right to file a legal challenge against their detention and obtain prompt release and compensation if a judge determines the detention to have been unlawful. This mechanism was seldom employed and rarely successful.
Amnesty: Since 2000 the government has offered blanket unconditional amnesty for all crimes committed by individuals who engaged in war or armed rebellion against the government, barring grave breaches of the Geneva Convention, genocide, willful killings of innocent civilians, and other serious crimes perpetrated against civilians or communities without military necessity.
e. Denial of Fair Public Trial
The constitution and law provide for an independent judiciary, but the government did not always respect this provision. Corruption, understaffing, inefficiency, and executive branch interference with judicial rulings often undermined the courts’ independence.
The president appoints Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, and High Court judges and members of the Judicial Service Commission (which makes recommendations on appointments to the judiciary) with the approval of the National Assembly.
Due to vacancies on the Supreme Court, Constitutional Court, High Court, and the lower courts, the judiciary did not deliver justice in a timely manner. At times the lack of judicial quorum precluded cases from proceeding.
Judicial corruption was a problem. The Center for Public Interest Law (CEPIL) reported in August that judicial corruption mainly consisted of cash bribes to clerks and magistrates for favorable treatment. CEPIL noted that instances of corruption in the lower courts were more visible and egregious as magistrates openly contravened court rules to favor one party. In the higher courts (High Court, Court of Appeal, and Supreme Court), corruption was more discreet and nuanced. Media reported several incidents of police arresting lower court judicial officers for allegedly soliciting bribes, while there were no such arrests of higher court officials. CEPIL’s report noted that “systemic corruption within the justice system undermines human rights and public confidence.”
Although the law provides for a presumption of innocence, authorities did not always respect this right. Defendants have the right to be informed promptly and in detail of the charges and have free interpretation from the moment charged through all appeals, as necessary. An inadequate system of judicial administration resulted in a serious backlog of cases, undermining suspects’ right to a speedy trial. Defendants have the right to be present at their trial and to consult with an attorney of their choice. The law requires the government to provide an attorney for indigent defendants accused of capital offenses. Defendants have the right to adequate time and facilities to prepare a defense and appeal, with free interpretation as necessary. Defendants have the right to obtain evidence the state intends to use prior to their trial, although this right of disclosure is not absolute in sensitive cases, and authorities did not always respect this right. The law allows defendants to confront or question witnesses testifying against them and present witnesses and evidence on their own behalf, but authorities did not always respect this right. Defendants may not be compelled to testify or confess guilt, and they have the right to appeal. These rights extended to all groups.
All nonmilitary trials are public. A single judge decides cases in the High Court, while a panel of at least five judges decides cases in the constitutional and supreme courts. The law allows military courts to try civilians that assist members of the military in committing offenses or are found possessing arms, ammunition, or other equipment reserved for the armed forces. On September 16, the High Court ruled that member of parliament (MP) Michael Kabaziguruka, who was charged with treason along with 26 military officers, would be tried by a military court.
POLITICAL PRISONERS AND DETAINEES
During the year authorities detained numerous opposition politicians and activists on politically motivated grounds. Authorities released many without charge but charged others with crimes including terrorism, treason, inciting violence, holding illegal meetings, and abuse of office. No statistics on the number of political detainees or prisoners were available.
There was no available information on whether the government permitted international human rights or humanitarian organizations access to political detainees.
On February 29, the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) claimed security force personnel had arrested and detained approximately 300 of its supporters nationwide over the course of the election season. The UPF claimed it had arrested 132 persons from various political parties for illegal election-related activities.
On June 8 and 13, police arrested Michael Kabaziguruka, an MP and FDC deputy commissioner on the Electoral Commission, and released him within two days of each arrest. On June 26, police rearrested Kabaziguruka and subsequently transferred him to Kigo Prison, where he awaited trial at year’s end. On June 28, a military court charged Kabaziguruka and 26 others, predominantly military officers, with treason for allegedly plotting the violent overthrow of the government. According to Kabaziguruka’s lawyers, the government based its most recent charges on the same evidence as it used for its 2012 treason case against Kabaziguruka and three other individuals, a case the government dropped. On July 1, in a meeting with opposition politicians, the president accused Kabaziguruka of attempting to assassinate him. On September 16, the High Court ruled that Kabaziguruka be tried in a military court; Kabaziguruka appealed.
CIVIL JUDICIAL PROCEDURES AND REMEDIES
There is an independent and impartial judiciary in civil matters. Victims may report cases of human rights violations through the regular court system or the UHRC, which has judicial powers under the constitution. These powers include the authority to order the release of detainees, pay compensation to victims, and pursue other legal and administrative remedies, such as mediation. Victims may appeal their cases to the Court of Appeal and thereafter to the Supreme Court but not to an international or regional court. Civil courts and the UHRC have no ability to hold perpetrators of human rights abuses criminally liable, and bureaucratic delays hampered enforcement of judgments that granted financial compensation.
The constitution and law prohibit such actions, but there were reports the government failed to respect these prohibitions. Police did not always obtain search warrants to enter private homes and offices.
The Antiterrorism Act and the Regulation of Interception of Communications Bill authorize government security agencies to tap private conversations to combat terrorism-related offenses. The government utilized both statutes to monitor telephone and internet communications.
The government encouraged university students and government officials, including members of the judiciary, to attend NRM political education and military science courses known as “chaka mchaka.” While the government claimed the courses were not compulsory, human rights activists and opposition politicians reported authorities pressured civil servants and students to attend.
Section 4. Corruption and Lack of Transparency in Government
The 2009 Anticorruption Act provides criminal penalties for official corruption, including up to 12 years’ imprisonment upon conviction. A 2015 amendment to the act mandates confiscation of the convicted persons’ property. Nevertheless, the government did not implement the law effectively, and officials frequently engaged in corrupt practices with impunity. Government agencies responsible for combating corruption lacked the political will to combat corruption, particularly at the highest levels of government, and many corruption cases remained pending for years. Media reported numerous cases of government corruption during the year. Police arrested and suspended several police officers implicated in bribery, extortion, and corruption cases. Authorities arrested several magistrates and judicial officials for forgery as well as for soliciting and receiving bribes.
The auditor general’s annual audit findings for the fiscal year ending June 2015 concluded that the government flouted procurement rules, failed to implement internal controls, and spent funds without proper authorization.
Corruption: The 2015 audit report noted the government contravened procurement laws by directly procuring engineering and construction services to build two dams, valued at 7.7 trillion shillings ($2.2 billion), without an open international tender. The report also concluded the cost of the government’s direct procurement of services for the construction of highways to the airport exceeded the market rate. According to the report, the government made more than 11 billion shillings ($3.1 million) in pension payments to beneficiaries whom the Ministry of Public Service could not confirm were alive.
On February 26, the Global Fund reported the government failed to account for $21.4 million (equivalent to 74.9 billion shillings) of donated medicines stored in government operated warehouses and that $2.4 million (equivalent to 8.4 billion shillings) worth of donated test kits issued to the government were not received by the targeted health facilities. It also reported the government could not account for $200,000 (equivalent to 700 million shillings) it generated from selling condoms that were meant to be distributed free of charge. Government officials reportedly sold Global Fund-subsidized antimalarial drugs for 50 percent more than the agreed price and did not account for the difference.
In August the DPP charged five suspects with diverting government resources, theft, forgery, and conspiracy to steal for diverting 15.4 billion shillings ($4.4 million) from a law firm that represented pensioners in a case against the government. Three of the suspects were also accused in the 2013 embezzlement case involving officials from the Ministries of Public Service and Finance; the officials allegedly embezzled more than 165 billion shillings ($47 million) from government pension funds by creating 2,605 ghost pensioners. In the case, eight officials were charged with corruption, but the court dismissed it in April 2015 after the state failed to present a witness after two years. In August 2015 the DPP reinstated the case and charged the same three officials with corruption for allegedly misappropriating 88 billion shillings ($25 million) in government funds. These cases continued at year’s end.
On May 25, the Commission of Inquiry, which reports to the president, released the findings of its investigation into corruption in the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA). The inquiry revealed that UNRA officials misappropriated up to nine trillion shillings ($2.6 billion) from 2008 to 2015. The report noted “dramatic wheeling and dealing, insider trading and outright fraud.” The report called for the prosecution of 90 officials and confiscation of their assets. The president ordered the inspector general of government (IGG), the director of the Criminal Investigations and Intelligence Department, police, and the Office of the Auditor General to conduct an investigation based on the report. On July 14, however, the High Court suspended the investigation due to a challenge of the report’s findings issued by two construction firms, Dott Services Ltd. and General Nile Company for Roads and Bridges, which claimed their implication in the report was unfair and hurting their businesses. The case continued at year’s end.
Financial Disclosure: Public officials are required to disclose their income, assets, and liabilities and those of their spouse, children, and dependents within three months after assuming office and every two years thereafter. The requirement applies to 42 position classifications, including ministers, MPs, leaders of political parties, judicial officers, permanent secretaries, and heads of government departments, among others. While these financial disclosures are officially considered public information, the IGG only released the records in response to a specific request. Public officials who vacate office six or more months after they declared their finances are required to refile as they conclude their term in office. The IGG is responsible for monitoring compliance; penalties include a warning or caution, demotion, dismissal, and administrative leave from office. According to Transparency International, most officials did not comply with disclosure requirements and those who did tended to underreport their assets.
Public Access to Information: The 2005 Access to Information (ATI) Act provides for public access to government information, but the law was not effectively implemented. According to The Hub for Investigative Media (HIM), a local NGO promoting government transparency, few citizens were aware of their right to public information, and government officials were often slow to respond, denied requests improperly, or did not respond at all. HIM has filed 39 cases against government departments that declined to provide information. The Africa Freedom of Information Center reported the government’s $100,000 (equivalent to 350 million shillings) budget to implement the ATI was inadequate to train government officials and raise public awareness. The government could deny information requests based on security or sovereignty grounds, and the law provides for redress through internal dispute resolution processes or courts.
Section 5. Governmental Attitude Regarding International and Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human Rights
Some domestic and international human rights groups operated without government restriction, investigating and publishing their findings on human rights cases. Authorities denied local LGBTI-related organizations official status due to discriminatory laws preventing their registration, however, and NGOs that worked in the areas of governance, human rights, and political participation were sometimes subject to extra scrutiny. The government was often unresponsive to concerns of local and international human rights organizations, and government officials often dismissed NGO claims of human rights abuses by security forces.
On March 4, for example, after NGOs criticized the arrests of journalists covering opposition protests, the police spokesperson dismissed the criticism as untrue, claiming the journalists were “obstructing police officers on duty and disobeying lawful orders.”
In June HRAPF reported police refused to investigate a break-in at their office during which a private security guard was killed, although HRAPF provided police with television footage showing the intruders inside the office. Media reported a police spokesperson accused HRAPF management of “masterminding” the break-in.
The United Nations or Other International Bodies: In December 2015 the World Bank cancelled the Uganda Transport Sector Development Project, worth $265 million (equivalent to 927 billion shillings), due to the government’s failure to address allegations of sexual misconduct and abuse by contractors with underage girls residing near the project site, sexual harassment of female employees, and child labor. The bank announced it would resume funding once the government established adequate measures to stop the abuses. In January, in response to the cancellation, President Museveni ordered the arrest of the project’s government supervisors, although only low-level laborers had been charged with abuses by year’s end. On May 16, media reported that the Fort Portal magistrate’s court charged three persons with statutory rape. In June, after resuming the project with its own funds, the executive director of the National Roads Authority publicly warned such violations would not be tolerated and promised that his agency would closely monitor the project going forward. In May UNRA sponsored community training sessions on the protection of girls from labor exploitation and sexual abuse in the affected project areas.
Government Human Rights Bodies: The UHRC is a constitutionally mandated institution with quasi-judicial powers to investigate allegations of human rights abuses, direct the release of detainees, and award compensation to abuse victims. The president appoints its board, consisting of a chairperson and five commissioners. Unlike in the previous year, since February the UHRC had the necessary quorum of three commissioners to fulfill its duties; in that month the president reappointed three previous commissioners and appointed two new ones.
The UHRC, which had 21 branches nationwide, pursued suspected human rights abusers, including in the military and police forces. On August 1, the UHRC released its 2015 annual report, which noted 4,227 complaints, an increase of approximately 8 percent over 2014. For the sixth straight year, the highest number of complaints–more than 50 percent–were against the UPF; 13 percent of complaints were against the UPDF. The highest number of complaints involved torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, followed by detention beyond 48 hours, child neglect, land disputes, and deprivation of life. The report also urged the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs to pay the more than five billion shillings ($1.43 million) in outstanding compensation awards owed to victims of human rights violations. Of the 579 million shillings ($165,000) awarded in 2015, most resulted from UPF violations, followed by those of the UPDF, and the UPF’s Rapid Response Unit/Violent Crime Crack Unit.
Many human rights activists asserted the UHRC lacked the political will to investigate or identify senior-level perpetrators of abuses. Other observers commended the UHRC’s 2015 report for the range of human rights problems identified and the report’s recommendations, including that police adopt modern investigation techniques “to avoid [the] use of torture in obtaining information.”
Section 6. Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons
Rape and Domestic Violence: The law criminalizes rape, which is punishable by life imprisonment or the death penalty; the law does not address spousal rape. The penal code defines rape as “unlawful carnal knowledge of a woman or a girl without her consent.” Men accused of raping men are tried under section 145(a) of the penal code that prohibits “carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature.” The law also criminalizes domestic violence and provides up to two years’ imprisonment for conviction.
Rape remained a serious problem throughout the country, and the government did not effectively enforce the law. Although the government arrested, prosecuted, and convicted persons for rape, the crime was seriously underreported, and police did not investigate most cases. The Center for Domestic Violence Protection (CEDOVIP) reported security officers often responded to women’s claims of sexual violence with skepticism. Police lacked the criminal forensic capacity to collect evidence, which hampered prosecution and conviction. Although the law mandates police training on gender-based violence, training was often ad hoc and poorly attended, according to CEDOVIP.
The UPF crime report through June 2015, the most recent available, noted 10,163 reported sexual offenses, of which 787 were rapes, 8,954 statutory rapes, 308 indecent assaults, 56 incest, and 58 “unnatural offenses.” Gulu District police told the media on April 1 they registered an average of 60 cases of statutory rape a month, with most cases involving girls younger than 14. According to the Uganda Association of Women Lawyers (FIDA), few cases involving rape and statutory rape were brought to trial and completed, in part due to societal factors. Parents, husbands, local leaders, religious leaders, police, prosecutors, and sometimes courts pressured victims to settle cases out of court. According to FIDA, these settlements often left perpetrators unpunished and discouraged other victims from seeking redress.
According to the 2011 Demographic and Health Survey (DHS), which the government conducted every five years, at least 27 percent of girls and women between the ages of 15 and 49 experienced some form of domestic violence in 2010. The same survey found at least 56 percent of married women reported some form of domestic violence. According to a representative from the UPF’s Child and Family Protection Unit, victims often did not report domestic violence because society generally did not consider it a crime, and police officers often did not consider it a serious offense.
In 2015 local NGOs operated hotlines in 11 of the country’s 112 districts. The government worked with local and international NGOs and religious institutions, including the Roman Catholic Church, to increase understanding of domestic violence as a human rights abuse. A few NGOs ran domestic violence shelters, including Action Aid, Mifumi, and Uganda Women’s Network. Action Aid reported its shelters received between three and 10 domestic violence survivors daily. CEDOVIP operated a fund to provide victims of gender-based violence with emergency medical treatment, legal aid, transportation to police stations, and other services.
On August 17, the judiciary reported the introduction of audio/video link technology into the court system to enable vulnerable witnesses, especially children and victims of sexual assault, to testify without being in the same room as their alleged attacker. FIDA reported it was working with the judiciary to expedite gender-based violence cases through the court system by organizing special court sessions for victims.
On August 17, the cabinet passed a policy that requires the government to allocate funds to implement laws against gender-based violence, including the Domestic Violence Act of 2010, Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act of 2010, and the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act of 2009. On November 25, the minister of gender, labor, and social development launched a five-year national action plan to eliminate gender-based violence, promote gender equality, and remove barriers to the advancement of women.
Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C): The law and constitution prohibit FGM/C of women and girls and establish a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment for convicted perpetrators, or life imprisonment if the victim dies. UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) statistics updated in February showed 1 percent of women below the age of 50 had been subjected to FGM/C. The government, women’s groups, and international organizations combated the practice through education and livelihood skills training. These programs, which received support from some local leaders, emphasized close cooperation with traditional authority figures and peer counseling. Nevertheless, the Sabiny and Pokot ethnic groups in the east along the Kenyan border continued the practice; the Sabiny practiced types I and II, and the Pokot practiced type III.
Local NGOs, including Reproductive Education and Community Health and the Kapchorwa Civil Organizations Alliance, held drama and theatrical plays in their communities to teach the legal provisions, penalties, and dangers associated with FGM/C. In December 2015, during the Sabiny’s cultural day celebrations in Bukwo District, a delegation of Sabiny leaders led by Mzei Anguria Stephen, chairman of the Bukwo Elders Union, openly denounced FGM/C and urged the Sabiny people to shun the practice and educate their girls. In July, during the Pokot’s annual cultural day in Amudat District, the district chairperson said local leaders had resolved to intensify the fight against FGM/C, which would save the lives of many young girls in the area. The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) collaborated with local churches to fight FGM/C.
Media reported on April 23 that pregnant women in eastern Kapchorwa District opted to give birth at home to avoid exposing themselves to health workers as having undergone FGM/C; this practice had the unfortunate consequence of increased infant and maternal mortality rates in the district.
Other Harmful Traditional Practices: Media reported several cases of ritual child killings. Kyampisi Childcare Ministries reported in February that six children were mutilated and killed during the election season as part of rituals to bring good fortune to political candidates. The Coordination Office to Combat Trafficking in Persons reported nine victims of ritual killings through June.
On May 25, police arrested Herbert Were after they found him with his eight-year-old brother’s head. Police said Were confessed to beheading his brother as a precondition for joining a cult named “illuminati,” which promised he would become wealthy.
Sexual Harassment: The law criminalizes sexual harassment and provides for penalties of up to 14 years’ imprisonment, but authorities did not effectively enforce the law. Sexual harassment was a serious and widespread problem in homes, schools, universities, and workplaces. The Ministry of Gender, Labor, and Social Development (MGLSD) reported that fear of retaliation deterred many victims from reporting harassment.
Reproductive Rights: Couples and individuals have the right to decide the number, spacing, and timing of their children, manage their reproductive health, and have access to the information and means to do so, free from coercion, discrimination, or violence; however, family planning information and assistance were difficult to access, particularly in rural areas, where there were few health clinics. According to the 2011 DHS, one in three married women wanted to delay childbirth or space their children but could not access family planning aids. During the year the Ministry of Health reported that 36 percent of women between the ages of 15 to 49 used contraception. Women also faced challenges of religious restrictions imposed by faiths that oppose contraception.
Men’s lack of support for, or active opposition to, family planning often was a main deterrent to contraceptive use, according to a study conducted during the year by the NGO Coalition for Health Promotion and Social Development. In August the spokesperson for the government-run National Medical Stores reported men often harassed and beat their wives for using contraceptives.
According to the World Health Organization, the country’s maternal mortality rate was 343 per 100,000 live births. Health officials attributed the high maternal mortality rate to medical complications during delivery and the inability of healthcare facilities to manage them; media cited staff shortages and inadequate supplies at healthcare centers, also noting that health-care centers in rural communities often were inaccessible. According to UNFPA, only 57 percent of births were attended by skilled healthcare personnel.
In June 2015 the Ministry of Health established standards and guidelines to reduce morbidity and mortality related to unsafe abortions, including increasing access to family planning services and legal postabortion care and services. Fear of arrest often made healthcare professionals unwilling to attend to women who had undergone an abortion because the service providers feared police would accuse them of having performed the abortion. Abortion is a criminal offense and punishable by up to 14 years’ imprisonment for the practitioner and seven years for the mother.
Discrimination: The law provides women the same legal status and rights as men. Discrimination against women, however, was widespread, especially in rural areas. Local NGOs reported numerous cases of discrimination against women in divorce, employment, owning or managing businesses and property, education, and other areas. Many customary laws discriminate against women in adoption, marriage, divorce, and inheritance. Under local customary law in many areas, women may not own or inherit property or retain custody of their children. Traditional divorce law in many areas requires women to meet stricter evidentiary standards than men to prove adultery. Polygyny is legal under both customary and Islamic law. In some ethnic groups, men may “inherit” the widows of their deceased brothers.
During the year CEDOVIP reported receiving 18 cases concerning widows whose in-laws denied them access to marital property, housing, and their children, particularly in cases where the women’s names were absent from the property documents and when the women were in polygynous relationships. The law does not recognize cohabiting relationships, and women involved in such relationships had no judicial recourse to protect their rights.
The law provides that “every employer shall pay males and females equal remuneration for work of equal value.” In 2013 the National Organization of Trade Unions (NOTU) reported, however, that women received much lower wages than men for the same work.
Birth Registration: The law accords citizenship to children born in or outside the country if at least one parent or grandparent is a citizen at the time of birth. Abandoned children under the age of 18 with no known parents are considered citizens, as are children under the age of 18 adopted by citizens.
The law requires citizens to register a birth within three months. The National Identification and Registration Authority, established in 2015, is responsible for registering all persons in the country for the purpose of national identification. According to the 2011 DHS, only 29 percent of rural and 38 percent of urban births were registered. Lack of birth registration generally did not result in denial of public services. Some primary schools, however, required birth certificates for enrollment, especially those in urban centers. Enrollment in public secondary schools, university, and tertiary institutions required birth certificates.
Education: The government provided free universal primary education to four children per family as well as universal secondary education, although parents were required to provide lunch and schooling materials for children in secondary school.
A 2015 International Center for Research on Women study indicated more than 50 percent of girls between the ages of 14 and 18 dropped out of school due to poverty and early pregnancy. The government reported significantly higher dropout rates for girls than boys, due to early pregnancy, child marriages, sexual harassment and abuse, lack of access to sanitary pads, and poverty.
Child Abuse: Child abuse remained a serious problem. Authorities maintained a national hotline to report child abuse and received 4,891 reports between June 2014 and August 2015. Adolescent children were particularly vulnerable to sexual exploitation, early marriage, human trafficking, drug and substance abuse, involvement in social unrest, and engaging in criminal activities. From January through June 2015, the most recent data available, police registered 7,349 child related offenses, including 4,430 cases of child neglect, 1,366 of abandonment, 755 of abuse, 674 kidnappings (enticing a minor from a guardian) and abductions (forcing a minor away from a guardian), 76 cases of trafficking, and 48 of infanticide.
The law considers sexual contact outside marriage with children under the age of 18, regardless of consent or age of the perpetrator, as “statutory rape,” which carries a maximum penalty of death. Payment to the child’s parents often settled such cases. In September 2015 IGP Mugenyi said statutory rape was the most common crime against children. In 2013 the Ministry of Education and Sports and UNICEF released a study indicating 78 percent of primary school children and 82 percent of secondary students had experienced sexual abuse. In most cases the perpetrators were teachers. Of the victims, only 40 percent of girls and 39 percent of boys reported the abuse to authorities.
The government continued to work with UNICEF and NGOs–including Save the Children, Child Fund, and the African Network for the Prevention and Protection against Child Abuse and Neglect (ANPPCAN)–to combat child abuse. The UPF provided free rape and statutory rape medical examination kits to hospitals and medical practitioners throughout the country to assist investigations.
Corporal punishment is illegal, but remained a problem in schools and sometimes resulted in permanent injuries. On May 20, the president signed the 2015 Children Amendment Act, which makes corporal punishment in schools punishable by up to three years’ imprisonment. The amendment also seeks to protect children from hazardous employment and harmful traditional practices, including child marriage and FGM/C.
Early and Forced Marriage: The legal minimum age for marriage is 18, but authorities generally did not enforce the law. Marriage of underage girls by parental arrangement was common in rural areas. In 2015 local NGOs and the police’s Family and Children Unit reported some parents arranged marriages or other sexual arrangements for girls as young as 12. UNICEF’s 2016 State of the World’s Children report estimated 10 percent of the country’s girls married before the age of 15 and 40 percent were married by the age of 18.
On January 6, media reported police arrested seven persons in Jinja District for allegedly attempting to marry a 14-year-old girl to a 19-year-old man.
Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting: See information for girls under the age of 18 in the women’s section above.
Sexual Exploitation of Children: While the law prohibits sexual exploitation of children, the government did not enforce the law effectively, and the problem was extensive. The minimum age for consensual sex is 18. Statutory rape, which refers to any sexual contact with a minor, carries a maximum penalty of death. Victims’ parents, however, often opted to settle cases out of court for a payment. The law prohibits child pornography.
The 2011 Computer Misuse Act carries a definition of child pornography that adheres to international legal standards, but the act does not specifically address the solicitation of children for sexual purposes.
Child prostitution remained a problem. The National Information Technology Authority (NITA) reported an increase in the number of child sex abuse cases, noting the internet makes it easier for pedophiles to target children online. The Ministry of Internal Affairs conducted several training sessions for police officers on combatting online child abuse, and NITA reported it established a portal on its website to receive complaints of online child sexual abuse and child pornography. The local NGO Uganda Youth Development Link estimated in 2015 that at least 18,000 girls and women engaged in sex work across the country.
Child Soldiers: In July Katumba Wamala, army commander and chief of defense forces, warned that the rebel Allied Democratic Forces recruited child soldiers, particularly in the east.
The Lord’s Resistance Army continued to hold women and children against their will and to abduct children from neighboring countries.
Infanticide or Infanticide of Children with Disabilities: From January to June 2015, the most recent information available, the UPF reported 48 infanticides.
Displaced Children: Families in the remote Karamoja Region sent many children to Kampala during the dry season to find work and beg on the streets. In March the International Human Trafficking Institute reported that some Karamojong parents sent their children to Kampala with recruiters who promised to find them work but instead forced them to beg on the streets. A 2015 study by ANPPCAN found that 57 percent of Kampala’s street children were from Karamoja.
Police routinely rounded up street children and relocated them to a custodial home for juvenile delinquents, where staff attempted to locate the children’s families and return them to their homes. Media reported police often found that children who had been returned to their families reappeared on Kampala’s streets soon thereafter. In April the MGLSD reported the government completed and opened a rehabilitation institution in Karamoja to assist Karamojong children.
Institutionalized Children: There were reports of abuses in several orphanages. For example, on April 8, media reported that police closed an illegal orphanage in Lwengo District that housed 26 children in three rooms, denied them food for several days, and prevented them from going to school.
According to regulations issued in 2014, an approved orphanage “shall only receive children in an emergency from a police officer or under an interim care order from a judge.” All approved homes are required to keep proper accounts, employ a qualified warden and registered nurse, keep health records for each child, provide adequate sleeping facilities, and provide for an appropriate education. Nevertheless, the government lacked the resources to register and monitor orphanages.
In 2015 the MGLSD estimated there were more than 50,000 children in approximately 1,000 orphanages in the country, of which only 83 were licensed by the ministry. More than half of the orphanages did not meet minimal standards and held children illegally. Nearly 70 percent of orphanages maintained inadequate records on the children present. Most children in orphanages had at least one living parent.
International Child Abductions: The country is not a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. See the Department of State’s Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction at travel.state.gov/content/childabduction/en/legal/compliance.html.
The Jewish community had approximately 2,000 members centered in Mbale District, in the eastern part of the country. There were no reports of anti-Semitic acts.
Trafficking in Persons
See the Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report at www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/.
Persons with Disabilities
The law prohibits discrimination against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual, or mental disabilities in employment, education, air travel and other transportation, access to health care, the judicial system, or the provision of other state services. The law, however, does not establish penalties for those engaging in discrimination. The law provides for access to all buildings “where the public is invited” and information and communications for persons with disabilities, but the government did not enforce the law effectively. A 2013 study conducted by architects in Kampala found that 95 percent of the city’s buildings were inaccessible to persons with disabilities due to lack of ramps or elevators.
Persons with disabilities faced societal discrimination and very limited job and educational opportunities. The UHRC received complaints of discrimination in employment (see section 7.d.) and access to transport and other public services.
Most schools did not accommodate persons with disabilities.
In June Plan International reported many children with disabilities were victims of physical and emotional abuse, including bullying, ridicule, and social isolation. Perpetrators included parents, foster parents, and teachers as well as peers. Plan International reported that 84 percent of children with disabilities had been victims of violence, compared with 54 percent of children without disabilities. A 2012 report released by the National Council on Disability (NCD), the most recent information available, indicated 45 percent of persons with disabilities were literate, compared with 71 percent in the general population. The report found children with mental disabilities were sometimes denied food and tied to trees and beds with ropes to control their movements.
The government took steps during the year to address the needs of persons with disabilities. The government increased fiscal year 2016 funding by 34 percent for training teachers working with children with special needs. The Mukono District Council passed a resolution that banned the construction of buildings that do not have provisions of access for persons living with disabilities.
In July the National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda petitioned the chief justice to improve access to courthouses for persons with disabilities and to introduce sign language and Braille systems in the courts.
The law reserves five seats in the National Assembly for representatives of persons with disabilities. The NCD reported participation by persons with disabilities in the February elections was minimal, in part due to inaccessibility of polling centers. Election materials were not modified for persons with vision disabilities, and polling stations lacked support services such as guides, helpers, and sign language interpreters. The NCD also noted civic education offered by the government to citizens through electronic and print media was inaccessible to many persons with disabilities.
Government agencies responsible for protecting the rights of persons with disabilities, including the Ministry of State for Disabled Persons under the MGLSD and the NCD, lacked sufficient funding to undertake significant initiatives.
There were reports of violence among ethnic minorities over land, grazing rights, border demarcations, and other contested matters.
On July 15, the international NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported that during a March 11-25 operation to quell interethnic violence between the Bamba and Bakonzo tribes, the UPDF and UPF shot and killed 17 civilians in Bundibugyo and Kasese Districts. According to HRW, 13 of the civilians were unarmed. A police spokesperson claimed security forces were responding to attacks with machetes and stones. The National Assembly’s Defense and Internal Affairs Committee launched an investigation, but no report had been released by year’s end.
On February 8, media reported a group of citizens and residents of foreign extraction complained of discrimination in the process of applying for national identity cards. The group, called the Uganda Multiracial Community, alleged the Ministry of Internal Affairs denied some of its members, citizens and noncitizens, official registration. Yasin Omar, the group’s head, said that some persons of multiracial backgrounds paid up to 500,000 shillings ($142) to obtain identity cards, although the government was supposed to issue them without charge. The president met the group in February and promised to resolve their problems with the Ministry of Internal Affairs. No further update was available.
The constitution recognizes 56 indigenous ethnicities. The government has historically displaced indigenous groups to create national parks and reserves.
Unlike in previous years, media did not report any clashes between the Benet ethnic group, evicted from its land on Mount Elgon in 1983, and the Uganda Wildlife Authority. It was unknown whether the government had fully complied with a 2005 ruling that returned lands within Mount Elgon to the Benet.
Unlike in previous years, there were no known reports of neighboring communities discriminating against the Batwa ethnic group, which the government displaced in 1992 when it created Mgahinga National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, and Echuya Central Forest Reserve. Conflict in previous years resulted from resentment by local ethnic groups residing in the area where the government resettled the Batwa.
Acts of Violence, Discrimination, and Other Abuses Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
Consensual same-sex sexual conduct is illegal according to a colonial era law that criminalizes “carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature” and provides for a penalty of up to life imprisonment. LGBTI persons faced discrimination, legal restrictions, societal harassment and violence, intimidation, and threats.
On August 4, police raided an LGBTI pride week event at a Kampala nightclub and ordered the approximately 300 attendees to huddle in a corner and sit on the floor. There were multiple reports police beat other attendees who hid in the club’s bathrooms or attempted to exit the club. There were also reports police sexually assaulted transgender individuals. According to witnesses, police ordered the event organizers to come forward, arrested 16 individuals without charge, and kept them for several hours in a holding cell, where police incited other detainees in the cell to beat them.
In a separate case, the LGBTI community cancelled a pride week parade event after the minister for ethics and integrity, Simon Lokodo, threatened to mobilize civilians to beat participants. The minister then released a statement saying LGBTI activities were criminal and illegal. The minister, who later denied the threat, claimed police cancelled the event because organizers had failed to obtain prior police permission, a claim HRW disputed.
In 2015 the Uganda Registration Service Bureau (URSB) rejected the application of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) to reserve its name, the first step required to register as an NGO. As explanation for its refusal, the URSB cited the 2012 Companies Act that allows it to refuse any requested name that “in the opinion of the registrar is undesirable.” On June 1, SMUG, with support from HRAPF, filed a suit claiming the URSB’s decision violated the organization’s constitutional rights to associate and assemble. The case continued at year’s end.
In January 2015 police arrested nine men who helped organize an HIV/AIDS testing clinic in the western Ntungamo District for “carnal knowledge against the order of nature.” Police claimed four of those arrested were engaged in sexual activity at the time of arrest, a charge disputed by those arrested. The men, who were subjected to forced anal exams, were released on bond. The case continued at year’s end.
HIV and AIDS Social Stigma
Although the law prohibits discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS, discrimination was common and prevented persons with HIV/AIDS from obtaining treatment and support. International and local NGOs, in cooperation with the government, sponsored public awareness campaigns to eliminate the stigma of HIV/AIDS. Counselors encouraged clients to be tested and to receive information about HIV/AIDS with their partners and family. Persons with HIV/AIDS formed support groups to promote awareness in their communities.
Police and the UPDF regularly refused to recruit persons who tested positive for HIV, claiming their bodies would be too weak for rigorous training and subsequent deployment.
In 2014 the National Assembly passed the HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Bill that creates a legal framework for the prevention and control of HIV, disclosure of seropositive status to reduce transmissions, testing and counseling services, and prescribes penalties for the intentional spread of HIV. In July 2015 the president signed the bill into law. Human rights and HIV/AIDS activists criticized the bill, asserting it represented a dangerous backslide in the country’s effort to respond to HIV. Activists expressed concern about a clause in the bill that criminalizes attempted and intentional transmission of HIV. A person convicted of these offenses faces up to 10 years’ imprisonment or a fine of approximately five million shillings ($1,430).
In September the International Community of Women Living with HIV Eastern Africa reported the results of research in 2014-15 indicating that healthcare workers sterilized 72 women living with HIV without their consent between 1993 and 2013. Most of the cases took place in government-run hospitals during childbirth by caesarian section.
Other Societal Violence or Discrimination
Mob violence remained a problem. Mobs attacked and killed persons suspected of robbery, killing, rape, theft, ritual sacrifice, and witchcraft, among other crimes. Mobs beat, lynched, burned, and otherwise brutalized their victims.
On March 22, media reported that motorcycle taxi drivers organized an illegal court in Lugazi, which tried, sentenced to death, and subsequently beat to death a man accused of stealing a motorcycle.