Tag Archives: Uganda

Uganda: 11 years in jail for killing gorilla

A poacher has been jailed for 11 years after he confessed to killing a rare mounteen silverback gorilla in Uganda last month.

The gorilla, named Rafiki, which means “friend” in Swahili — was part of the famed Nkuringo gorilla group that lives in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and is a legend among tourists across the world.

Rafiki was reported missing on June 1 and his mutilated body was found the next day inside the park.

A postmortem report revealed that Rafiki was injured by a sharp device to his abdomen and internal organs.

The poacher Byamukama Felix was arrested a few days later with bush pig meat and several hunting devices in his possession, authorities said.

Byamukama pleaded guilty to several charges, including killing a gorilla, entering a protected area and being in possession of illegal meat.
The convicted told authorities he killed Rafiki in self-defense when he went with a group to hunt in the park and they came across the group of gorillas. The silverback charged and he speared it, he said.

Three other men who were arrested with Felix remain in custody awaiting trial as they have pleaded not guilty.

EU €24M aid to Uganda

The EU will provide €24 million in humanitarian assistance for the most vulnerable people in Uganda in 2020, with a special focus on refugees and their host communities. In addition, the EU has also channelled €1 million to aid organisations in Uganda to support the coronavirus preparedness and control measures, in line with the national response plan to the pandemic.

“EU humanitarian support in Uganda is making a difference to the lives of many refugees who have fled South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. EU aid will provide food and health assistance, access to water and sanitation, as well as education programmes. We remain committed to continuing our support in Uganda, all the more so in these challenging times” said Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič.

EU-funded humanitarian projects in Uganda are also adapting to the new challenges brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. For example, EU funded radio talk shows are raising awareness about the coronavirus and other key issues, such as child protection. Other humanitarian projects provide access to health care and in epidemics control and prevention. EU support has also helped more than 20,000 children benefit from education programmes.

EU humanitarian support in Uganda goes hand in hand with longer-term development strategies to find durable solutions and support the self-reliance of refugees and their inclusion in social protection schemes.

Uganda hosts 1.4 million refugees, one of the largest refugee populations in Africa. The country applies a progressive refugee policy, which is, however, under increasing pressure due to the scale of the crisis, and overstretched services. EU humanitarian funding is helping to address the immediate life-saving needs of refugees and host communities in line with the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework as implemented in Uganda.

COVID19: EU supports Africa women

European Commission among the other prominent international players has been alarmed by the rising levels of violence against women and girls, mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic confinement measures but also following the social-economic stress and insecurity that many families have to face.

In sub-Saharan Africa women are disproportionally more exposed to both health and economic risks, and this is linked to their roles and responsibilities in their communities or society as a whole. Unfortunately, according to available statistics the threat of child marriage is also greater when communities are affected by shocks like disease outbreak, when all the referral systems to prevent and respond to gender-based violence may underperform.

Responding to the significance attributed by the EU to gender equality and women and girls empowerment, including Africa, the European Commission currently invests in around 40 ongoing projects targeting or contributing to the elimination of violence against women and girls on the African continent amounting to approximately €310 million. The most significant one for a total amount of €250 million is the Spotlight Initiative (Africa envelope), – the largest global programme to eliminate violence against women and girls, with an initial investment of €500 million, launched in September 2017. The Initiative aims at eliminating all forms of VAWG in partner countries from five regions: Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, Caribbean and Pacific.

In Sub Saharan Africa the objective is to prevent, combat and prosecute sexual and gender-based violence against women and girls, including the elimination of harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation. The programme is implemented in eight African countries (Liberia, Mali, Malawi, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda and Zimbabwe) for a total amount of €220 million.

The African regional programme complements eight countries programmes with a substantive allocation of €30 million. An allocation of 10% of the overall Africa investment budget supports the women’s movement which is implemented by two existing UN Trust Funds (the UN Women Peace and Humanitarian Fund, and the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women and Girls).

According to the EU officials, following the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, the Commission is adapting and refocusing the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative to identify risk factors related to pandemic context and to respond to critical needs. Efforts are currently focussing on ensuring swift action to counter increased domestic violence, boost prevention, support survivors and support civil society organisations.

The EU supports the scale-up of existing hotlines, shelters and equipping health, police, justice and social protection sectors for women and girls. One good example is Mozambique, where Spotlight Initiative funding is being used to strengthen the preparedness of staff working in health centres and shelters to better assist victims. Protective gear and hygiene material is being supplied in these centres and shelters. Spotlight also supports police in better responding to violence cases by providing transport and mobile phones.

Other projects are mainly implemented by Civil Society Organisations (NGO). The EU contribution to these projects is close to €60 million, and they are implemented across the African continent.

The inclusion of the prevention of and response to gender-based violence, and is aligned to COVID-19 national prevention and containment measures, is the EU ongoing mission, for example, in Uganda, a consortium led by CARE Denmark, in partnership with other three international and four national NGOs, working on empowerment, accountability and leadership for refugees and host communities, will continue to provide prevention and response services to survivors of gender-based violence and work on other protection issues.

Experiences of past epidemics lead to conclusion that intimate partner violence and sexual exploitation and abuse increase during these periods. Based on this knowledge CARE and partners have adapted the assistance: case management will be provided remotely, while social workers stationed at the health facilities will support gender-based violence screening. For high risk cases, face-to-face interactions will continue, while maintaining social distancing and hand hygiene precautions. The EU’s humanitarian contribution to this action is €2.3 million. In 2019, it is estimated that the EU allocated approximately €26 million of its humanitarian aid budget to the prevention and response to gender-based violence worldwide.

Most EU-funded projects to eliminate violence against women and girls are implemented in partnership with the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) or with international organisations. When the European Commission works with international organisations, the European civil servants also often work with CSOs. For the Spotlight Initiative it is foreseen that at country level, 30-50% should be delivered through CSOs. CSOs also play a crucial role in the design and the governance of the Spotlight Initiative, at national, regional and global level.

Following the COVID crisis, the EU is also providing flexible support to women’s organisations and grassroots organisations, including the much needed core funding. In this context, the EU in close collaboration with the UN is re-directing around €15 million to support and ensure business continuity of CSOs and mitigate challenges and risks linked to the COVID-19 crisis through two above mentioned UN Trust Funds. In the short term, the funds support activités to counter the increase of domestic violence under COVID-19 crisis, prevention, support to survivors, including Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), and help provide a lifeline to women’s organisations, CSOs working on gender-based violence related issues.

The Commission adopted its Communication on a global response to COVID-19 in April 2020. This “Team Europe” response is a joint effort between the European Union, its member states and European financial institutions to mobilise resources to support partner countries’ efforts in tackling the coronavirus pandemic.

In order to ensure a comprehensive response, the EU’s response includes both urgent, short-term emergency measures, and more medium to long-term measures such as research and health systems strengthening (right to health), and mitigating the economic and social impact.

The response also includes social protection actions, addressing all inequalities and non-discrimination and promotion of human rights. The Communication recalls the importance “to promote and uphold good governance, human rights, the rule of law, gender equality and non-discrimination, decent work conditions, as well as fundamental values and humanitarian principles”.

Uganda: lockdown clashes

Uganda has banned all public transport for two weeks in accordance with decision of the President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, explaining the measure is needed to curb the spread of coronavirus pandemic, which has so produced 14 established cases of contamination there. The measure is complementary to the insturction to stay home from 22 March.

However there are reports of police chaisng street vendors in Kampala unwilling to stope trade after the public were called to stay home for 32 days starting March 22 to curb the spread of coronavirus epidemic.

There are videos shared via social media, showing police dispercing the crowds unwilling to respect the imposed lockdown.

Uganda LGBTI: MEPs express deep concern

MEPs express their deep concern at the possible resurgence of the anti-homosexuality law in the Ugandan political debate, which would, if introduced, include the death penalty for “aggravated acts of homosexuality”.

They take note of the statement made by Ugandan President Museveni’s spokesperson denying that the government has any intention to propose such a new bill, and call on the Ugandan government to stand by this statement .

The European Parliament regrets emphatically the use of the death penalty under any circumstances and reminds the Ugandan government of its obligations under international law and the Cotonou Agreement, which calls for universal human rights to be respected. MEPs also call on the EU delegation in the country to continue to monitor the situation for LGBTI people closely and to actively support civil society organisations and human rights defenders on the ground. The resolution was adopted by 521 votes in favour, 4 against and 110 abstentions and will be available here (24.10.2019).

Ebola patient passed away in Uganda

The nine-year-old girl  from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), , who was tested positive this week for the Ebola virus in Uganda, died on August 30 morning. (Image: illustration).

“She died around 8 AM this morning,Yusuf Baseka, director of health services for Kasese District, southwestern Uganda told AFP. The child was in isolation in a health center in Bwera, in the same district of Kasese. The body of the girl “is being repatriated” in the DRC, with his mother who accompanied her daughter’s  remains, he said.

“I want to reassure all Ugandans and non-Ugandans that we have the full capacity to control Ebola. Stay calm and vigilant,” tweeted Ugandan Minister of Health Jane Ruth Aceng before the announcement of the girl’s death. She is the fourth person diagnosed with Ebola in Uganda to die.

In June, three family members diagnosed in Uganda, after contracting the disease in the DRC, died. Two died on Ugandan soil and the third in the DRC after being repatriated. In late July, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Uganda free from Ebola, with no other cases reported in the meantime.

The contaminated girl arrived at the Mpondwe crossing point on the DRC-Uganda border this week to seek medical help in Bwera, according to the Ugandan Ministry of Health. In Mpondwe, where Uganda has sanitary controls in place, medical teams have noted that Ebola-like symptoms include fever, generalized weakness, rash and unexplained blood loss in the mouth. , according to the same source.

Blood tests confirmed that she was “Ebola positive“. The Ministry pointed out that since it had been controlled at the border, it had not come into contact with anyone in Uganda.

Ebola hemorrhagic fever, highly contagious, causes the death of between 25% and 90% of patients, according to the WHO. There is no commercialized treatment or vaccine, but several leads are being tested. It is spread through direct contact with blood, body secretions (sweat, stool, etc.), through sexual intercourse and through the improper handling of contaminated cadavers.

A total of 2,006 people died of Ebola in the DRC in a year, and Ugandan authorities, who fear the virus is spreading in their country, have taken strict preventive measures. Nearly 18,000 people cross the border between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda daily, according to Ugandan government statistics.

EU allocates €3.5 million to Ebola emergency

As the deadly Ebola virus outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo continues, with the first cases emerging in neighbouring Uganda this week, the EU has announced further emergency funding of €3.5 million, of which €2.5 million is for Uganda and €1 million for South Sudan. The aid package will strengthen rapid detection and reaction to Ebola cases. Today’s funding comes on top of the EU support for the Ebola response in the Democratic Republic of Congo and prevention and preparedness actions in Uganda, South Sudan, Rwanda and Burundi.

Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis management and EU Ebola coordinator said: “We are doing all we can to save lives and stop further Ebola cases. Today, our main task is not only to help the Democratic Republic of Congo, but also assist neighbouring countries like Uganda. Here, our funding is helping with surveillance, work with local communities, and boosting local capacities for these countries to take timely and effective action. We are committed to continue our assistance to bring this outbreak to an end, for as long as it takes.”

In co-ordination with other international donors and in line with the World Health Organization’s Regional Strategic Ebola Response and Preparedness Plans, EU funding is contributing towards measures that include mainly:

  • the strengthening of disease surveillance at community level, health facilities and points of entry (border crossing points);
  • the training of rapid response teams;
  • the training of healthcare and frontline workers on contact-tracing, infection prevention and control measures, psychosocial support, and safe and dignified burials;
  • local capacity-building by equipping medical treatment facilities; and
  • community awareness-raising.

EU humanitarian health experts in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and the region are coordinating the response and they are in daily contact with the health authorities in these countries, the World Health Organization and operational partners.

WHO declines Ebola global alert

In a controversial decision, the World Health Organization (WHO) has again declined to declare Africas latest Ebola outbreak global alert, although the desease has killed more than 1400 people and just crossed into a new country.

It was the view of the committee that the outbreak is a health emergency in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the region, but it does not meet all criteria,Preben Aavitsland, acting chair of an expert committee convened by WHO, said at a press conference  in Geneva, Switzerland.

The committee gathered for the third time after news emerged this week that the virus had spread from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to neighboring Uganda, so far claimed lives of two people there—a 5-year-old boy and his grandmother—who had crossed the border.

Many infectious disease experts and public officials had expected, and called for WHO to declare a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) when Ebola broke out of the DRC.

*I’m baffled and deeply troubled by this decision,Lawrence Gostin, director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.. “The status quo is no longer tenable. It is time to sound a global alert.”

Uganda kidnappers demand $500,000 ransom

An American citizen who was kidnapped with her driver at Uganda’s most popular wildlife park by gunmen had failed to take an armed ranger as required by the park’s regulations, a spokesperson for the wildlife authority said.

Four armed men in Uganda‘s Queen Elizabeth National Park. according to CNN have used the victim’s phone to demand $500,000 ransom.

We strongly believe this ransom is the reason behind the kidnap,” a police officer said to CNN TV channel. They were ambushed and kidnapped near Katoke Gate between 5 pm and 7 pm on April, 2. “Other four tourists who were left abandoned and unharmed later contacted the base (lodge) and were quickly got safely out of any danger,” a press release said.

The Queen Elizabeth National Park (QENP) is Uganda’s most visited wildlife attraction.

Kimberley Sue Endecott (35), and Ugandan driver Jean Paul were on a game drive in the Park when four gunmen ambushed their vehicle in evening hours, police said. However, an elderly couple also at the scene were not taken and raised the alarm.

Militant groups as Somali Islamists or Congolese-based rebels operate in Uganda, but none of the group claimed responsibility for the armed incident. At present the regular crime is regarded as a privileged version of the assault.

There is ongoing police operation, however for the evident reasons, the details are not revealed.

African Union Summit opens in Addis Ababa

The leaders of  African states gather for the annual African Union #AU summit which started its activities from February 7.

The refugees and internally displaced persons are in the focus of the Summit taking place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Nowadays Sub-Saharan Africa hosts more than a quarter of the world’s 25.4 million refugees, the UN agency for refugees UNHCR reports.

However that figure is considered to be a conservative assessment because of ongoing conflicts in the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi.

According to the United Nations, 85% of the displaced people are located in developing countries, with three African countries – Uganda, Sudan and Ethiopia  among the major hosts of refugees in the world.

The activists and campaigners for human rights insist there is an urgency for the African Union to undertake practical measures to address the issue of refugees on the continent.

The #AU will also discuss a standard passport for all African countries. There are expectations that the passports will bring the continent closer to free movement of people alike in the European Union, to promote a viable alternative to current illegal migration.

The AU’s Commission promised to announce the design, production, and issue a model of a passport during the Summit.

However the problem of passports is not limited to its design, or funding. There is no tradition, neither requirement to issue birth certificates in Sub-Saharan Africa, with an exception of some urban agglomerations. The date of birth in the overwhelming number of cases is unknown, which creates a considerable obstacle in identification of  an individual. The case of a notorious Ethiopian “junior” athlete Girmawit Gebrzihair,  causing an international scandal, is a recent example of difficulties the authorities meet, while producing passports for citizens without birth certificate, based only on their affidavit, the method lacking credibility. An alternative for establishing a correct age, can be in use of medical checks with a sophisticated modern equipment, however the are no funds available to engage in such a costly practice.

 

 

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