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Full Recommendations

To the Government of Uganda:

  • Enhance the police capacity and presence in northern Uganda by dramatically increasing the number of police officers. Place police officers in all displaced persons camps in adequate numbers to bring security to camp residents, and work to establish the civilian nature of camp management to the greatest extent possible.

  • Strengthen the judicial system in the north by hiring and training competent and impartial judges and prosecutors. More judges should be permanently assigned to Magistrates and High Courts.

  • Initiate court prosecutions of military personnel in civil jurisdictions where abuses of civilians are at issue and the military fails to prosecute in a timely fashion.

  • Make concerted efforts to reduce the backlog of pending judicial cases by imposing and respecting procedural deadlines, for instance.

  • Clearly designate responsibilities between the police and the army as to detention procedures and train police to deal with various issues including civilian-soldier conflicts.

  • Overhaul governmental complaints procedures in the north so that there is civilian and military accountability. Ensure that complaints do not stop at the military commander, and that there is independent oversight of the complaints process by a respected member of the Supreme Court.

  • Design and implement clear procedures for these complainants, such as where and to whom to report complaints and how and to whom to appeal. Make sure these procedures are disseminated at all levels of the population and government in northern Uganda through public awareness campaigns and in partnership with traditional leaders and local civil society actors.

  • Strengthen the capacity and independence of the Uganda Human Rights Commission by, among other things, providing it with sufficient resources to monitor and investigate abuses in northern Uganda by all parties to the conflict, including unlawful detentions by the UPDF.

  • Establish and fund a Truth and Reconciliation Commission for Northern Uganda to investigate all crimes, regardless of the perpetrator, from the beginning of the conflict in 1986. Make its hearings and findings public.

  • Prepare a detailed plan for the eventual voluntary return of internally displaced persons to their areas of origin for post-conflict development projects focusing, among other things, on shelter, potable water, education, sanitation, hygiene, nutrition and food security.  

  • Until such solutions can be implemented, provide satisfactory conditions, such as spelled out in relevant Ugandan policy and regulations, in particular the National Policy on Internal Displacement of Persons (Office of the Prime Minister, Department of Disaster Management and Refugees January 2004) and Operationalising the National Policy for IDPs (April 2005), and the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, of shelter, hygiene, health, safety and nutrition for internally displaced persons.

  • Except for extreme circumstances of insecurity, allow those internally displaced persons who wish to leave the camps, whether briefly or permanently, to do so, in keeping with the National Policy on Internal Displacement of Persons and Operationalising the National Policy for IDPs and the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, principles 12(2) and 14(2).

  • Lift curfews wherever possible or, at a minimum, ensure that they are enforced in a reasonable and proportionate manner.

To the Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces:

  • Investigate and discipline or prosecute as appropriate serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law committed by UPDF personnel regardless of their rank. Investigations in northern Uganda should focus initially on abuses by the 11th Battalion.

  • Penalties imposed must respect the basic rights of the accused and should not include the simple transfer of rights violators to other locales.

  • Provide appropriate human rights and humanitarian law training to all UPDF personnel deployed in northern Uganda.  All personnel involved with the internally displaced should receive appropriate training on the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement and relevant Ugandan regulations.

  • Except for the capture of LRA fighters on the battlefield, forbid the UPDF from arresting or detaining any persons or conducting interrogations; discipline or prosecute as appropriate UPDF personnel who unlawfully detain or mistreat persons in custody.

  • When invited, participate in all community and NGO-based efforts to educate citizens about their rights and procedures for complaining about government abuses and oversights.

  • Design and implement effective oversight of army commanders, ensuring that they are ultimately responsible and accountable for the actions of those under their command.

To the Lord’s Resistance Army:

  • Immediately cease all attacks against civilians and other non-combatants, including willful killing, torture, mutilation, abduction, looting and destruction of civilian property.

To the International Criminal Court:

  • Prepare and implement a communications and outreach strategy to create awareness of the ICC’s mission among communities and civil society in northern Uganda.  Priority should be placed on better informing the affected population of the mandate and scope of the ICC investigation, such as the fact that only crimes committed after July 2002 fall within its jurisdiction 

  • Immediately implement adequate witness protection measures and ensure that all investigators working in northern Uganda are properly trained to conduct their investigations while minimizing the risk to victims and witnesses.

  • Investigate crimes falling within the jurisdiction of the ICC committed by all parties to the conflict, including the UPDF.

To the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights:

  • Ensure that the OHCHR presence in northern Uganda is sufficient to effectively monitor human rights abuses committed by all parties to the conflict.

  • Make the results of investigations carried out by OHCHR monitors publicly available promptly and periodically. 

  • OHCHR monitoring offices and staff should carry out monitoring independently of the Uganda Human Rights Commission. OHCHR staff, however, should undertake efforts to strengthen the capacity of national institutions, including the UHRC.

  • Provide training and support to national and local non-governmental human rights organizations based in Kampala, Gulu and other parts of northern Uganda.

  • Urge the Ugandan government to act in accordance with the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement and relevant Ugandan regulations, particularly with respect to camp security and freedom of movement for internally displaced persons outside of camp confines.

To the Uganda Human Rights Commission:

  • Develop a plan with nongovernmental organizations and donors for effective protection of internally displaced persons through stationing UHRC staff in camps to receive complaints of LRA and UPDF abuses.

To the World Bank and the International Donor Community:

  • Support programs that improve the capabilities, particularly respect for basic rights, of the judiciary, the UHRC and the police in northern Uganda.

  • Support programs for the protection of displaced persons and for their voluntary return home in dignity and safety.

  • Support programs for nongovernmental organizations to educate citizens of northern Uganda about their rights and procedures to file complaints against government.

To Humanitarian Organizations, OCHA (including the Inter-Agency Internal Displacement Division of OCHA), UNICEF and the UN Country Team for Uganda:

  • Establish effective inter-agency coordination mechanisms to assess, review, monitor and evaluate protection strategies in all internally displaced persons camps throughout northern Uganda on an ongoing basis.

To the Uganda Government (including the UPDF and UHRC), the Humanitarian Organizations, and the Donors:

  • Ensure that individuals who receive complaints and reports of sexual and gender-based violence, whether they are community leaders, law enforcement officers or humanitarian workers, be properly, extensively and repeatedly trained covering a wide range of issues and best practices on such violence.

  • Provide counseling services to victims, their families, and their communities, especially for victims of sexual and gender-based violence.  Family and community counseling will improve acceptability and integration of victims within their respective families and societies.

<<previous  |  index  |  next>>September 2005