Lake Albert evictions generate new frictions and tensions
In a panorama series aired on NTV Uganda under the title "Lake, Albert Evictions Raise Eyebrows," security personnel allegedly illegally evicted more than 600 locals from Lake Albert landing sites in Kabale Parish, Buseruka Sub-county, Hoima district over two days. The evictions violated Human Rights; there was a real risk and danger of exposing communities to coronavirus. We know that one of the best things we can do to protect our health and the health of our community is to stay home and stay physically distant from other people as much as possible. Illegal eviction also seriously threatens the livelihoods of many local communities. The social-economic crisis created by the pandemic adds dimension to uncertainty exacerbating an already dire situation.
GRA is drawing the local government's attention to violations, making proposals for remedies-Chris Emanzi, the Director of Programmes at Global Rights Alert cautioned security operatives against the disproportionate use of force. Chris Emanzi urged security operatives to adopt better approaches and negotiate with the communities and the local governments to ensure better outcomes that do not violate human rights.
The issue of land acquisitions and evictions relates strongly to accountability, but also land and resource rights, inclusive decision-making, and livelihoods. In this context, there is a need to negotiate between the various systems that exist and ensure consensus and effective representation of all stakeholders' interests. The government of Uganda needs to develop secure systems for ongoing stakeholder negotiations in the extractive sector.
These illegal evictions also bring into sharp relief the need for more substantial support for communities and the need for government to ensure that communities whose livelihoods are hit by the pandemic receive the immediate support they need.