Karamoja sub-region consists of nine districts of Abim, Amudat, Kaabong, Karenga, Kotido, Moroto, Nabilatuk, Nakapiripirit and Napak in north-eastern Uganda. The human rights situation in the region remains fragile, with high levels of vulnerability caused by marginalization and a history of conflict and insecurity.
The UN Human Rights Office in partnership with the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) organized and held the 48th Karamoja Regional Protection Meeting – KRPM on 22 September in Amudat district, specifically to: a) promote the culture of accountability for allegations of human rights violations and other human rights protection issues including those related to recent disarmament operation; b) contribute to enhance accountability of health workers in the process of investigation of GBV crimes; and, c) identify concrete strategies to strengthen coordination and information sharing on human rights issues among participating authorities and institutions to effectively address human rights issues and concerns reported. The meeting was attended by 60 participants (43 men and 17 women) drawn from the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF), Justice, Law, and Order Sector (JLOS) institutions, District Local governments, Civil Society Organization, and UN Agencies.
The meeting was instrumental in facilitating a constructive and forward-looking dialogue on human rights protection stakeholders and strengthening their commitments to fulfil human rights obligations in their duties.
The discussions identified gaps and needs in human rights interventions for further technical support to enable various duty-bearers to be more accountable.
The Deputy Country Representative, UN Human Rights, Ms Grace Pelly, informed participants that the UN Human Rights office is concerned about continuous allegations of human rights violations in law enforcement, particularly during the disarmament operations. She noted that human rights violations perpetrate distrust andfear among affected populations, endangering both peace and development in the region.
A presentation by UHRC and UN Human Rights on the human rights situation and trends in Karamoja between June and September 2022 raised human rights concerns and allegations against UPDF, UPF and Anti Stock Theft Unit – ASTU. The allegations involve arresting family members and relatives of the suspects, arbitrary arrests and prolonged detention of suspects, torture, arbitrary and extrajudicial killings, excessive use of force, lack of transparency and violations of fair trial standards in court-martial proceedings, and extortion of money from suspects and detainees to released.