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Open Letter to the ambassadors of the UK, US and the Netherlands in Uganda,

109 signatures

Kiryandongo Land Evictions Petition [Immediate Action: Sign Before 3rd, March, 2020]

Dear ambassadors of the UK, US and the Netherlands in Uganda,

We the undersigned Non-State Actors (NSAs) call upon your governments as financiers and/or supporters of the company Agilis Partners to take stun action to halt the on-going un-lawful land evictions in Kiryandongo district in Uganda and further investigate the growing humanitarian crisis characterized by gross abuse of fundamental Human Rights including the right to land, education, health, freedom of assembly and right to liberty. Already thousands of families have been forcefully and violently evicted from their land without adequate compensation since 2010 to make way for the company’s agricultural activities. More than 30,000 families are still at the verge of forced eviction from their lands in Kiryandongo district if action is not immediately taken to stop it.
The land in question measures approximately 9,500 acres and has been lawfully occupied by more than 30,000 small holder farming families since 1937.
We are further concerned about the deteriorating living conditions of the families that the evictors (Agillis) and their agents have blocked from accessing their homes and crop gardens. This gross abuse to the right to shelter and right to food has badly affected over 20,000 women, children and Persons with Disabilities.

Other specific cases of human rights abuse alleged by the communities include use of excessive force by Agilis and agents against unarmed communities; illegal arrest and detention of prominent community leaders; harassment and intimidation of community members using unlawful patrol by armed agents; demolition of schools, worship centers and family dwellings/houses; cutting down crops; as well as few spotted cases of unlawful (irregular) and forced payment of compensation contrary to the national laws and international mechanisms.
These allegations can further be substantiated by a few recorded incidents as follows;
1) On November 11 2016, without any Court order granting eviction, the company and its agents allegedly undertook forceful evictions where they used live ammunitions to shoot two people including an 11-year old school boy (Ssewankambo Ponsiano), and tear-gassed pupils of Kabyanga Primary School in broad day light. This incident which occurred in Kisalanda village under Kimogola Local Council One (1). caused a permanent disability to Ssewankambo and he has since dropped out school.
2) Since December 2017, the companies and their agents have demolished over six schools namely, RCC Nursery and Primary School, Bright Future Nursery and Primary School, Good Hope Nursery and Primary School, Aloko Nursery and Primary School, Kololo Nursery and Primary School and God’s Grace Nursery and Primary School. This action has caused significant drop out of over 2,500 children since they cannot trek the long distances to nearby alternative government schools within radius of more than 10 Kilometers. 3) Over 17 community members who were demanding for a lawful process and procedure to be followed before evictions have been arrested, and illegally detained with trumped-up charges including murder, holding of illegal assemblies and trespass among others. A few were released on police bond at Kiryandongo police station. Akiteng Stella, a community leader was arrested and illegally detained for seven days without appearing before any competent Court and while in detention, Ms. Akiteng alleges that she was denied access to water and the bathroom, and medical attention.
4) There are widespread allegations that due process f property valuation were not followed that led to under valuation during the few cases of compensation. For example the family of Mr. Ssenkware Godfrey (born in 1936) and Mrs. Asaba Margaret aged 68 with 11 children at Tecwa village, owned 10 acres of land on which they grew cassava, maize, beans, and banana overtime for food and income generation was paid UGX 1,577,500 equivalent to US $ 439 to vacate their land and start a new life elsewhere.

Our call

Mzee Ssenkware and his wife Margaret at their home shortly after being ransacked by companies agents

1. We call upon your government to take stun action to cause Agillis Partners and its associates to halt the ongoing massive land evictions in Kiryandongo district and further respect the Human Rights and Dignity.
2. We call on your government which is involved in supporting Agilis Partners and its associates to investigate these allegations and take actions against the company for aiding and/or facilitating abuse of fundamental Human Rights including the right to land, education, health, food, shelter among others.
3. Cause the Agillis Partners and other companies to give back communities their land.
Governments and institutions known to be involved in funding, financing and/or supporting Agilis Partners and its company Joseph Initiatives include:
i. The impact investor DOB Equity (dob Foundation) of the Netherlands, via the UK-based Dutck Oak Tree Foundation, owned by the De Rijcke family of the Netherlands.
ii. The United Nation’s Common Fund for Commodities, via the Dutch Trust Fund arrangement set up by the Netherlands Ministry for Development Cooperation
The UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) via its FoodTrade programme USAID via its Ugandan country programmes.
A home of One Ssenkware, at Tecwa village was ransacked by agents of companies grabbing land

**your signature**

We call on your governments to take immediate action to halt the eviction of the villagers in Kiryandongo district to avoid a further escalation of the humanitarian crisis.

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