Connect with us

Defending Land And Environmental Rights

Development finance for Covid-19 crisis should uphold human rights

Published

on

May 18, 2020 – In a statement published today, the Coalition urged development finance institutions to ensure that the funding and support they provide for the Covid-19 response, and during the economic recovery period, upholds human rights and leads to economic justice for those who are most vulnerable.

We see that Covid-19 and the ensuing economic lockdowns are having unequal impacts, hurting already vulnerable communities the most and exacerbating issues around inequality, violence, militarisation, and surveillance. DFIs have committed to contribute billions of dollars as part of the global response to the Covid-19 pandemic.  While we recognize that the pandemic necessitates an urgent response, members and community partners of our coalition have concerns about the implications of DFI support and how this money will be spent.

A significant amount of DFI support is going toward governments and other clients with poor human rights records. There are gaps in transparency and accountability. And in many cases the money will go to corporations and banks and may never reach those who are the most vulnerable. At the same time, the focus on combating the spread of Covid-19 has created additional risks and challenges for those standing up for their rights or speaking out against development activities that are harming them and their communities. Thus, Covid-19 is both a test and an opportunity for DFIs to align their policies and practices with laws, policies and standards on human rights and responsible business conduct.

DFIs’ response to Covid-19 should support equitable and universal access to healthcare, food, water and other essential services. This includes avoiding projects that harm the environment, displace people, increase surveillance and militarisation risks, or threaten sustainable livelihoods and food security.

Recognizing that there are real challenges to meaningful consultation and participation due to the pandemic, especially in communities that are worst hit by the crisis, DFIs should take additional steps to support communities’ access to the information, power and resources they need to determine their own development paths. This means DFIs should take steps to plan for the changed environment around reprisals and restricted freedoms, and ensure that their Covid-19 response supports, and does not hamper, communities’ ability to hold DFIs, governments, and other actors accountable, now and into the future.

Download here the full statement in English French  and Spanish .

Download here the press release in English French  and Spanish .

 

SIGNATORIES

Coalition members: Accountability Counsel; Alyansa Tigil Mina (Alliance to Stop Mining); Asociación Interamericana para la Defensa del Ambiente; Buliisa Initiative for Rural Development Organisation (BIRUDO); Community Empowerment and Social Justice Network (CEMSOJ); COMPPART Foundation for Justice and Peacebuilding -Nigeria; Derecho Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (DAR); Environics Trust; Forest Peoples Programme; Fundeps (Foundation for the Development of Sustainable Policies); Gender Action; Green Advocates International; Initiative for Right View (IRV); International Accountability Project; International Rivers; Jamaa Resource Initiatives; Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns;  Recourse; RECODH; Sustentarse; Witness Radio – Uganda.

Others: African Women’s Development and Communication Network – FEMNET; AfricanDefenders (Pan African Human Rights Defenders Network); Alliance Sud; Business & Human Rights Resource Centre; Center for Economic and Social Rights; Centro de Investigación, Documentación y Asesoría Poblacional-CIDAP; Chirapaq, Centro de Culturas Indígenas del Perú; Civicus; CLEAN (Coastal Livelihood and Environmental Action Network); Combat Climate Change Network, India; First Peoples Worldwide; Grupo de Estudos: Desenvolvimento, Modernidade e Meio Ambiente (GEDMMA-UFMA); Fundación Integral para el Desarrollo Regional FINDER; Human Rights International Corner ETS; Joy for Children; Mekong Watch; MOCICC; Nouveaux Droits de l’homme Congo Brazzaville;  Observatoire d’études et d’appui à la responsabilité sociale et environnementale; Proyecto sobre Organización, Desarrollo, Educación e Investigación (PODER); Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú; Protection International Mesoamérica; RV Serviços Sociais e Ambientais Colaborativos; University of Wollongong.

Defending Land And Environmental Rights

State fails to produce a key witness, prematurely closes its prosecution in the trial of the eight land rights defenders

Published

on

By the Witness Radio team,

The state prematurely closed its prosecution in the trial of the eight community land rights defenders after it failed to produce its last witness, the Investigating Officer (IO).

Mwawula Fred, Ramu Ndahimana, Samuel Kusiima, Martin Munyansia, Martin Haweka, Amos Wafula, Eliot Talemwa, and George Rwakabisha are facing a charge of threatening violence, which attracts a four-year sentence upon conviction.

Upon closure of the prosecution, the defense lawyers applied for the dismissal of the case for want of prosecution, adding the evidence before the court too weak to sustain a conviction

The court has directed the defense to file its written submission and serve the prosecution by 10th February 2022.

Since 2020, the prosecution has only presented two witnesses, which resulted in the trial being marred with unnecessary adjournments and transfers of trial magistrates.

The prosecution alleges that on September 4th, 2020, the eight community rights defenders, while at Kisalanda village, allegedly threatened to harm one of the police officers guarding Great Season SMC Limited’s plantation.

Great seasons SMC Limited is one of the multinationals that have forcefully evicted thousands of local farmers and criminalized activities of community land rights defenders for resisting illegal and forceful evictions of poor communities in the Kiryandongo district. The others include Kiryandongo Sugar Company and Agilis Partners Limited.

The court will rule on the application to dismiss the case on the 20th of March 2022

Continue Reading

Defending Land And Environmental Rights

Mubende police arrest and charge farmers that workers of a tree-planting company attacked.

Published

on

By Witness Radio team

Five smallholder farmers have been arrested and charged with malicious damage by Mubende police, Witness Radio Uganda has learned.

The victim farmers include; Kabuka Levi, Lubwama Robert, Bulegeya Erisa, Byakatonda David, and Byamukama Yuda are among the victims of the company attacks. Upon arrest, they (victims) recorded statements and later were released on police bond.

Before their arrest, the farmers had opened several cases against their tormentors (company workers) for attacking and destroying their properties worth millions of Shillings. Several files were opened including SD.ref/09/07/12/2022 and SD.ref/12/07/12/2022 against company workers. However, to their surprise, the police made a U-turn and got them arrested.

On December 7th, 2022, in the wee hours of that day, a group of over 20 casual workers linked to Formosa limited, a tree planting company based in Mubende district attacked several families, properties like houses and food crop plantations were destroyed, and several farmers were severely beaten with intentions of forcing them off their land.

“When we reached Mubende police, we were all arrested and interrogated for almost an hour before recording statements on malicious damage charges. The company reported that we cut its trees and had photos as evidence which we did not do.” Mr. Kabuka Levi told Witness Radio in an interview.

In the meantime, the same company in 2017 caused the arbitrary arrest and imprisonment of 5 community land rights defenders for 15 years and 35 years on murder and other charges. The five include; Paul Sinamenya, Richard Ssemombwe, Fenehansi Kaberuka, Esau Hategeka, Godfrey Bukenya, Yonnah Ssebanenya, and Sserugo Sam Ssemigo.

Witness Radio appealed against the conviction of 5 defenders for review and is waiting on the appellant court to set the hearing date of the case.

Since 2011, Formasa company under the protection of private security guards and the police has grabbed 2590 hectares that were a source of livelihood for hundreds of poor communities.

The land grabbing has affected over ten (10) villages including Butoro, Kyedikyo, Nakasozi, Namayindi, Kitebe, Kisiigwa, Mukiguluka, Busaabala, and Kicucuulo located both in Maduddu and Butoloogo sub-counties in Mubende district.

Continue Reading

Defending Land And Environmental Rights

Community land rights defenders that have been on trial since 2020; are set to return to court this January.

Published

on

By Witness Radio Team.

The criminal trial of eight (8) Community land rights defenders on charges of threatening violence is to resume on the 23rd of January 2022, with the state producing its final witness.

The defense lawyers are preparing a submission of no case to answer upon closure of the prosecution’s case because of the insufficiency of the case.

So far, the prosecution has presented two witnesses before the court since 2020, whose trial sessions have been marred with unnecessary adjournments and transfers of hearing magistrates.

The eight community land rights defenders include; Mwawula Fred, Ramu Ndahimana, Samuel Kusiima, Martin Munyansia, Martin Haweka, Amos Wafula, Eliot Talemwa, and George Rwakabisha were charged with threatening violence, a charge that attracts a four-year sentence upon conviction.

The prosecution alleges that on September 4th, 2020, the eight and others, while at Kisalanda village, allegedly threatened to harm one of the police officers guarding Great Season SMC Limited’s plantation.

In November 2020, the prosecution disclosed to defense lawyers and informed the court that investigations were closed and the prosecutor’s chambers were ready to proceed to trial.

Great seasons SMC Limited is one of the multinationals that have forcefully evicted thousands of local people and later criminalized activities of smallholder farmers that have resisted illegal evictions in the Kiryandongo district. The others include Kiryandongo Sugar Company and Agilis Partners Limited.

The trial will start at 10 am East African Time.

Continue Reading

Resource Center

Legal Framework

READ BY CATEGORY

Facebook

Newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter





No spam mail' ever' its a promise

Trending