NOVEMBER 1, 2010: Failure to investigate alleged human rights violations in Karamoja region guarantees impunity

Failure to investigate alleged human rights violations in Karamoja region guarantees impunity

SOURCE: Amnesty International

Failure to investigate alleged human rights violations in Karamoja region guarantees impunity Amnesty International is concerned that the government of Uganda has failed to date to ensure thorough, prompt and independent investigations into frequent reports of human rights violations, including possible unlawful killings, by the Uganda Peoples' Defence Forces (UPDF), in the Karamoja region thereby ensuring impunity for the perpetrators. The alleged violations have been committed in the course of an ongoing disarmament process in the area.

Most recently, sections of the media report that up to 40 corpses have been discovered in Kalosarich near the border of Moroto and Kotido. They were allegedly suspected cattle rustlers killed by UPDF soldiers. There have been other reports of human rights violations by UPDF soldiers in the last ten months, which the government has dismissed as untrue, and not investigated.

• In January up to 20 people were allegedly killed during a UPDF helicopter gunship military attack targeting cattle rustlers in Kotido district of Karamoja. It is not clear if these people were armed or were members of armed cattle rustling groups.

• In April up to 30 people were apparently killed by UPDF soldiers during a raid in Regen sub-county of Kotido district. This raid was ostensibly to recover animals from members of suspected Jie cattle rustlers.

• Between January and June up to 15 people were said to have been killed by UPDF soldiers under unclear circumstances in different instances where the soldiers were engaged in fighting with and/or disarmament exercises targeting alleged armed cattle rustlers in Moroto district.

During these and other security operations UPDF soldiers have allegedly used torture and other illtreatment especially while undertaking searches. There have been reports of UPDF soldiers removing suspects' teeth, burning suspects using hot metals and hitting the muscles and veins of men around the anus and the testis. According to these reports such treatment is used against people suspected of being cattle rustlers and/or who the UPDF suspect are opposed to the disarmament exercise.


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