KAMPALA - Following the eviction of over 400 pastoralists from Buliisa District, over the weekend, Banyarwanda living in Uganda have written a petition to the Uganda National Human Rights Commission (UNHRC), seeking protection from the evictions by Ugandan security officials.
The evictions were carried out by a combined force of the Police, the Army, and intelligence services.
In a press conference Kampala yesterday, the leadership of the Ugandan Banyarwanda Cultural Development Association (UMUBANO) described the evictions as “utter violation of peoples’ rights.”
“We call upon the Commission to exercise its powers as per article 53 of the Constitution and protect these people from illegal evictions being carried out by the army,” UMUBANO General Secretary, Frank Machali told reporters.
The petition, a copy of which The New Times obtained reads in part; “The law should be followed and Court should determine the ownership of the land where these people settled.”
The pastoralists, who claim to have bought the land from the indigenous Bagungu are complaining that they were evicted without notice, and have demanded compensation from Government.
The petition adds that the matter had been taken to court before, but dismissed on technicalities because there was no evidence of eviction.
“We therefore wish to know whether Gen. David Tinyefuza and his soldiers are court brokers duly equipped with a court order to evict these people from their legally acquired homes,” the petition reads in part.
Tinyefunza is Uganda’s coordinator of security organs.
UMUBANO Vice Chairman, Frank Rusanganwa, added that the association was not only concerned about its members who were evicted, but also other non-Banyarwanda who have been affected by the evictions.
“Although our members are the majority of the group that was evicted, we are raising our voices for the others as well because they are suffering from the same problems,” he said.
The Commissioner of the Uganda Human Rights Commission, Medi Kaggwa, yesterday said his office was yet to read the petition to determine the way forward.