Our Ref: HURVI Memorandum to President Jacob Zuma, June 2012.
HIS EXCELLENCY JACOB ZUMA
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA
Dear Mr President.
RE: MASSIVE HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES BY THE UGANDAN AUTHORITIES UNDER THE DICTATORSHIP OF PRESIDENT YOWERI KAGUTA MUSEVENI.
1 . BACKGROUND
The Human Rights Voice International in South Africa, on behalf of its members from Uganda living in South Africa, submits this Petition to you against Uganda police and military brutality on Ugandans.
This Memorandum is intended to bring to your attention and the government of South Africa the brutality of the Ugandan regime and urge you to urgently reconsider this country’s foreign policy with regard to the government of Uganda and specifically President Museveni. Human rights abuses have permeated all spheres of life for people living in Uganda and even affect some that live outside the country.
2 . CURRENT
The prevailing human rights abuses by the government of Uganda have worsened since the 11th April 2011, when Ugandans embarked on the walk-to-work campaign to express their demands for respect of human rights. The response by Uganda government has been that of systematic and consistent brutality on unarmed vulnerable citizens, with the help of some of the arms and armoured vehicles purchased from South Africa.
Arbitrary arrests, torture and death of opposition supporters, harassment of opposition leaders and intimidation of the general population by the police and military forces are daily occurrences. Media groups, both the local and international, have been at the receiving end too.
All this state brutality using the police and military forces has been widely covered by both the Ugandan and international media as well as many human rights organisations. This was also brought to your attention in a petition handed to your office in May last year by the Uganda Civil Alliance Network (UCAN). The same organisation sent a letter to the South African parliament’s Defence and International Relations portfolio committees in December last year regarding these abuses and the role of South African products in the repression of Ugandans. In both these documents, the situation in Uganda and its broader reach were widely narrated. The situation in Uganda has remained that of despair.
This memorandum adds onto UCAN’s previous documents and seeks to reinforce to you the gravity of the current situation in Uganda.
Furthermore, this brutality has had the consequence of increased influx of Ugandan refugees into South Africa, thereby having a ripple effect on this country’s residents, politically, socially and economically. Sometimes the Department of Home Affairs officials have tended to misread the Ugandan situation when dealing with Ugandan asylum seekers but the reality is that the situation in the country is forcing many Ugandans to flee their country.
Though the country holds elections, Ugandans have lost faith in them under the current arrangement as they are mainly an exercise to put a face to the country’s dictatorship and do not express the true will of the people as has been shown by instability following the previous elections.
3. OUR REQUEST
Your Excellency. as the leader of South Africa, a modern democratic and human rights respecting country, whose democratic principles are underpinned by Human Dignity, Equality and Freedom, we Ugandans wish to emulate these principles in our country, Uganda.
3.1. Your Excellency, we would appreciate if you would address the issue of human rights abuses carried out by the Uganda police and military forces, with President Museveni.
3.2. We request the South African government through you to urgently reconsider/revise its foreign policy and approach when dealing with the government.
3.3. We request that you put a stop to the sale of arms from this country to Uganda because of the misery these arms visit on ordinary Ugandans through the havoc they wreck.
3.4. We request that you review the training of the current Ugandan military personnel in this country.
3.5. We request that under the prevailing situation in Uganda, Ugandan political asylum seekers should be dealt with in relation to the existing brutal political situation in the country.
Your positive take on these concerns of Ugandans and in their struggle for their basic human rights, is a massive step forward in the international contribution to desperate Ugandans to obtain their rights and the same rights as enjoyed in South Africa today.
We thank you very much Mr President.
Convener: Dennis William Kyazze …………………………………………………….
Deputy Convener: Timothy Mugerwa…………………………………………………