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Joint Statement on World Bank Accountability Mechanism’s Decision to Limit Application of Operating Procedures



Accountability Counsel, along with other civil society organizations, expresses alarm over a recent announcement by the World Bank Accountability Mechanism that its final operating procedures would not apply to all of its cases. The final operating procedures, published in December 2022, state that they “apply immediately upon issuance” and “supersede the DRS interim operating procedures” and thus we expected them to apply to ongoing cases. However, on March 6th the Accountability Mechanism Secretary, who is responsible for issuing and interpreting mechanism procedures, clarified that the final operating procedures would not apply to two ongoing cases.

The announcement reads: “The Accountability Mechanism Operating Procedures supersede the DRS Interim Operating Procedures, originally issued in October 2021. The DRS Interim Operating Procedures continue to apply in full in cases where the Parties commenced mediation prior to the issuance of the AM Operating Procedures […] Specifically, DRS cases 21/01/DRS and 21/04/DRS.” Those two cases are: Uganda (Second Kampala Institutional and Infrastructure Development Project (KIIDP-2) (P133590)) and Nepal (Nepal-India Electricity Transmission and Trade Project (P115767) and its Additional Financing (P132631)).

We disagree with the Accountability Mechanism Secretary’s decision not to apply the final operating procedures to these two cases for the following reasons:

  • Communities in these two cases are given fewer accountability options. The final operating procedures clarify that eligible issues unresolved by dispute resolution can be investigated by the Inspection Panel. While the interim procedures did not prohibit this so-called partial resolution option, they also did not expressly state that the process was available. By restricting the application of the final operating procedures, the Accountability Mechanism Secretary has decided not to permit eligible unresolved issues to be investigated for two cases if an agreement on some issues is reached.
  • This leaves a potential accountability gap for the World Bank regarding two projects. While a dispute resolution process is typically undertaken by affected communities and borrowers, the Inspection Panel investigates the World Bank’s own compliance with its policies and procedures. The Accountability Mechanism’s decision to not permit eligible unresolved issues to go to compliance for two projects means that there could be noncompliance that goes unexamined and unresolved.
  • The decision is inconsistent with good practice. Typically, new operating procedures apply to all cases as soon as they are published. Consistent with that good practice, the World Bank Inspection Panel is applying its December 2022 operating procedures to all cases immediately.

Dispute resolution is voluntary, and parties can determine what conditions they require to come to the table, including whether or not to require full resolution of all issues. Taking that choice from the parties is an overstep. Our expectation of all accountability mechanisms is that they will champion the rights and needs of communities, not borrowers or banks. While we respect the Accountability Mechanism Secretary’s mandate to interpret their own procedures, we believe that this decision was incorrect and will undermine communities’ trust in the mechanism going forward.

This statement is endorsed by:

Accountability Counsel

Bank Information Center

CEE Bankwatch Network

Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL)

Centre for Financial Accountability

Friends of the Earth United States

Green Advocates International

Inclusive Development International

Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

International Accountability Project

Just Ground

Lawyers’ Association for Human Rights of Nepalese Indigenous Peoples (LAHURNIP)

Lumière Synergie pour le Développement

NGO Forum on ADB


Urgewald e.V.

Witness Radio Uganda.

Source: Accountability Counsel

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One Year Later, Justice is Delayed: A joint statement on the implementation of the KIIDP-2 Kawaala Community Agreement



Date: June 4, 2024

Last week, 31st May 2024 marked a year since the signing of the dispute resolution agreement between the Kawaala community and the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), facilitated by the World Bank Dispute Resolution Service (DRS), concerning the Second Kampala Institutional and Infrastructure Development Project (KIIDP-2). The process that led to this signing was hurried and confusing, but also hopeful. Hopeful that the agreement would mitigate the significant impacts of the drainage channel project on the Kawaala community’s livelihoods; hopeful for a way forward.

There is a more objective way of investigating the impact of the DRS process on the KIIDP-2 on the lives of the Kawaala community. The most obvious would be to look at the dispute resolution agreement and evaluate if what was agreed has been implemented. However, this agreement was declared confidential, and the DRS, unlike many of its peer accountability mechanisms, provided no summary or insight as to the content of the agreement. The alternative is to remind ourselves of the issues raised by the community in the complaint – the harm or anticipated harm by KCCA in undertaking this project – and assessing whether those issues have since been resolved. It is the findings of this method that has led us, Witness Radio and Accountability Counsel, as advisors to the community, to express our profound disappointment in the DRS’s management of the post-agreement phase and KCCA’s obligations in compensation, resettlement, and livelihoods restoration of the community.

At the time of the Complaint, the Kawaala community worried that their land would be taken away without adequate compensation. A year later, we are disappointed that there are still affected people who have not been paid the agreed compensation. Women, identified among the vulnerable groups in this project are yet to benefit from targeted initiatives to elevate their socioeconomic status and reduce their vulnerability to risk of abuse including sexual abuse.

Furthermore, some members of the community worried that the remains of their departed family members would be lost. Some of these affected community members are yet to be compensated for this loss and have not been able to restore their loved ones’ grave sites.

The community was anxious about food shortages as they were not farming their lands due to uncertainties caused by threats of eviction and disruptions by the project. A year on, the community is not yet fully resettled and restored in a way that empowers them to sustain their families through farming. There is still sewer seepage into farms, KCCA is yet to finalize the infrastructure necessary to ensure the flow of water in the drainage, so it still floods when it rains, and crops are carried away and contaminated.

The community had concerns over the safety and welfare of their children, fearing their children would fall into the drainage and get hurt. Unfortunately, this is still a concern as the project area is yet to be fenced off. Pathways including bridges to enable children to cross the drainage safely when going to school are yet to be constructed. There are no signages indicating restricted areas where it would be dangerous for children to play.

To add salt to injury, the rushed conditions under which the agreement was signed led to mistrust and division within the community, significantly affecting the cohesion and collective action needed for follow-up advocacy.  Besides, the strict confidentiality of the agreement – in contravention of the norms of similar dispute resolution processes – limits the transparency and access to information necessary to ensure full implementation.

Through it all, we wish to recognize and applaud the Kawaala Community for their unwavering commitment and resilience in pursuing the fulfilment of the agreement. Despite facing significant challenges and setbacks, their dedication to seeing the agreement implemented and their lives improved remains unshaken. This steadfast commitment inspires our continued advocacy and support.

On this first anniversary, we call for immediate action from both the KCCA and the DRS:

​​To the KCCA:

  1. Pay everyone: We demand that KCCA, without any further delay, pay the agreed compensation to all affected people whose land they took in connection with this project.
  2. Address Livelihood Concerns: We demand that the KCCA work diligently on the livelihood concerns of the community living around the project area to ensure they are not left in a worse state due to the project’s impacts.

To the DRS:

  1. Provide a Comprehensive Update: We demand a detailed report on the steps taken since the signing of the agreement, specifically regarding the promised livelihood restoration efforts.
  1. Commit to Effective and Inclusive Monitoring: We urge the DRS to commit to an effective, inclusive, and transparent monitoring mechanism that genuinely addresses the community’s ongoing challenges and ensures the fulfilment of the agreement’s terms. We urge DRS to continue its monitoring role until the full implementation of the agreement.
  1. Put pressure on KCCA: We urge the DRS to put pressure on KCCA where implementation has stagnated; to demand accountability for what remains outstanding; and to require KCCA to perform its obligations as agreed under the agreement.


To the World Bank Group (WBG):

  1. Exert Influence for Implementation: We call on the World Bank Group to step in and exert influence to ensure the implementation of the agreement. The WBG has suffered reputational damage due to the harm financed under this project, which remains unaddressed. The WBG’s active involvement is crucial to mitigate(remedy?) the harm done and ensure justice for the Kawaala community.

The Kawaala Community deserves justice and a steadfast commitment to improving their lives as initially promised. We, as advisors, stand ready to assist in this process but require a renewed sense of duty from the DRS, KCCA, and WBG.


Witness Radio

Accountability Counsel

Luganda Version

Oluvannyuma lw’Omwaka, Obwenkanya Bujjukirwa

Ekitegeeza Ekimu okuva ewa Witness Radio ne Accountability Counsel ku Kuteeka Mu Nkola Endagaano ya KIIDP-2 mu kyaalo kya Kawaala

Olunaku: 3 June 2024

Wiiki ewedde, nga 31 May 2024, omwaka guweera okuva ekyaalo kya Kawaala lwe kyateeka omukono ku ndagaano eye tesaganya ne Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), ekitongole kya World Bank Dispute Resolution Service (DRS), ku nsonga ya Second Kampala Institutional and Infrastructure Development Project (KIIDP-2). Okusaininga endagano kwayakuyizibwa ate era tekwali kulamulukufu wadde nga kwaali kuuwa essuubi. Essuubi nti endagaano eno yandiyambye okukendeeza ku bizibu ebingi ebyali bituuse ku bantu be Kawaala; essuubi ly’okufuna enkulakulana.

Waliwo engeri ey’omugaso ey’okwekebejja engeri DRS gyeyatambuzaamu endagaano ku KIIDP-2 mu bulamu bw’ekyaalo kya Kawaala. Engeri eyangu yandibadde okulaba ku ndagaano eyateekebwako omukono okulaba oba ebyakkirizibwa byatuukirizibwa. Naye, endagaano eno yategeerekebwa nga ya kyama, era DRS, okwawukaana kumikutu Emilala ejja Accountability mechanism, teyasobora kutegeza kubyakirizibwako mundagano. Engeri yooka jetusobola okutebereza ebyakanyizibwako, tuliina okugobelela ebizibu abantu byebaawa mukiwandiko kyogwemulugunya. Enkola nga ezo zezaretedde Accountability Counsel ne Witness Radio nga abaawabuzi ba bemulugunya okuvaayo netulaga obwenyamivu bwaffe eri enkola za DRS ne KCCA mukutukiriza kubyakanyizibwako nga; okusasula abantu, okusengula abantu no kubadeza obulamu bwabwe nga webwali.

Okongerezako, abantu abamu abekyaalo kya Kawaala baali betide nti ettaka lyabwe lyanditwaliddwa awatali kuliyirirwa mu ngeri eyituufu. Oluvanyuma olwomwaka gumu, turibenyamivu nti abantu abawerako batwaliddwako ettaka kyokka nga tebaanasasulwa nsimbi z’obuliyirizi ezakkirizibwa. Abakyala, abategeerekebwa nga bantu abali mu kibinja ekitali kya bulijjo mu projekiti eno, tebannafuna kyamagero ebyabateekebwa okubayamba mu by’enfuna n’okuweddemu obuzibu bw’okwonoona omubiri omuli n’okuvumbibwa.

N’ekirala, abamu ku kubemulukunya baalina okutya nti ebyo ebiva ku b’emikwano gyabwe abafa byandibula. Abamu ku memba z’ekibinja abali ku by’ekibanja kino tebannasasulwa ku nfuufu y’abalime ne banyizibwa okuzza mu nsi ebifo ebyo.

Ekyaalo kyali kyeraliikirivu ku by’okulya kubanga tebakyalima mu byalo lw’okusoberwa okwava mu kutya okw’okugobwa n’okubotobolwa kwa projekiti. Olw’omwaka gumu, ekibinja tekannakutulawo era ntegeka ey’ekitiibwa mu ngeri ey’okubayamba okufuna ebyetaago byabwe ebikozesebwa okuyamba amaka gaabwe mu bulimi. Waliwo okufuna okutuula mu byalo mu nfufu, KCCA tekannamaliriza kuzimba ebisenge ebisobola okuba n’emigga, era bwekikya.

Abazzade baali beeraliikirivu ku by’okutebenkeza n’obulungi bw’abaana baabwe, okutya nti abaana baabwe bayinza okugwa mu migga ne bakosebwa. Wabula kino tekinakolebwako. Enzirukanya omuli ebifo by’okutambulira ebisobola okuyambako abaana okweyongerayo ne basomero biri bituukirizibwa. Nti waaliwo obulabe obuli ku baana okukola ku nsi etali nsibuko.

Okwongera omunyu Munbwaa, enyanguyaa yokusininga endagano, Yyaleeta enjawukaana nobutesingangana ku kyalo ekitukosezamu kugeri yokugobeelela ebintu nga webitabula ne nsonga kii zitwetaga otekako ensira. Nga ojjeko ekola ekakali eye kyama, nga enkola ezo kwemulugumya endaala ezifananako nga eno, enkola eye kyama, tewaa beetu ya bintu kubera bilamulukufu, na bantu okufuna emiwandiko ebyamakulu okusobora ogobelela Yokosuka ebyakiriziganyako mukoola.

Mubyona, twebaaza abemulugunya okukola obutawera okulaaba nti ebyakanyizebwako betukirizibwa wadde nga bayita mubeera eyo kunyigirizibwa. Kino kituzamu amanyi nga abawabuzi bamwe akusigala nga tutambulila wamu namwe nokusigala nga tulwanirila enkyoka.

N’olwekyo, tusaaba KCCA ne DRS ekole kusonga ze kawaala mubunambilo.


  1. Sasula Buli Omu: Tusaba KCCA, awatali kulwawo, esasule ensimbi ezakkiriziddwa eri abantu bonna abaatwaliddwako ettaka ku nteekateeka eno.
  2. Ggolokamu Eby’enfuna By’Obulamu: Tusaba KCCA ekole nnyo ku by’enfuna by’e kyaalo ekiri okumpi n’enteekateeka y’enteekateeka eno okulaba nti tebalekebwawo mu mbeera embi olw’enteekateeka eno.

Eri DRS:

  1. Waayo Lipoota Enkomeredde: Tusaba lipoota enkomeredde ku bikolebwa okuva lwe baateeka omukono ku ndagaano, nga bulijjo ku by’enkulaakulana mu by’obulamu.
  2. Kikole Ku Kulondoola Okuyisa Obulungi N’okugattibwa: Tusaba DRS ekole ku kulondoola okw’obulungi, okutunuulirwa n’okutegerekeka okukuuma okulaba nti enteekateeka eyatuukiriza amagezi.
  3. Teekawo Ekirwadde KCCA: Tusaba DRS ekome KCCA ekisigaza okw’okukola; era ekkirize KCCA okukola ku buvunanyizibwa bwe nga bwakolebwa mu ndagaano.

Eri World Bank Group:

  1. Teekawo Obusobozi Okulaba Ng’Ekirwadde Kiyindiddwa: Tusaba World Bank Group eyingire okulaba ng’endagaano eno eraba ekituukiriza. WBG tetekeddwa kuleka obuvunaanyizibwa kubanga omusango gwasindikibwa mu kugattika okw’enkomerero. Kibakakatako okukola ku ky’amagero kyabwe ekitali kyatuukirizibwa.

Ekibinja kya Kawaala kirina okufuna obwenkanya n’obukwatibwa obutuukirivu okulaba nga bulamu bwabwe buterede ng’ekisoka kye kyateebwa. Ffe nga abakubiriza, tuteekeddwa okukkiriza okukwatibwa okuva mu DRS, KCCA, ne WBG.

Mu bwesimbu,

Witness Radio
Accountability Counsel

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EU stands behind the empowerment of Human Rights Defenders



Ensuring Responsible Business Conduct by Private Sector in Uganda

DanChurchAid Uganda joins the European Union to commemorate the European Union Day, as we strive for justice, accountability, and human rights, not only within Europe but across the globe.

DanChurchAid Uganda in partnership with the National Coalition for Human Rights Defenders Uganda (NCHRD-U), and Witness Radio (WR), would like to appreciate the European Union for the financial support towards the ‘Monitoring, documentation, and advocacy for human rights’ project in Uganda (MDA-HRU).

The 36-month project (2023 to 2026) aims to hold the private sector and government accountable for environmental human rights abuses and violations, through improved documentation, and evidence-based advocacy.

A beacon of hope

At its core, this project is a beacon of hope for communities in the Mid-Western sub-region (Bulisa, Hoima, Masindi, Kiryandongo, Kikuube, Kagadi, Kibale and Mubende) and Karamoja sub-region (Moroto, Napak, Nakapiripirit, Amudat, Nabilatuk, Abim, Kaabong, Kotido and Karenga) of Uganda, where the private sector’s involvement in land-based investments (LBIs) has led to a myriad of environmental human rights abuses and violations.

The challenges faced by these communities are diverse which include limited capacity among Land and Environmental Defenders (LEDs) to monitor, document, and report violations which has perpetuated a cycle of human rights violations such as land grabbing, and lack of adequate and untimely compensation, among others.

Moreover, the lack of credible information about the impacts of Land Based Investment (LBIs) on violations has hindered efforts to demand accountability and access to justice for affected persons.

Empowered communities

In order to address these challenges, it is important to have, an empowered community comprised of human rights defenders. This project is geared toward building the capacity of land and environmental defenders to monitor, document, and report violations through the utilization of technology which is a key innovation in this project.

Through this collaborative action, 590 Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) and LEDs will receive enhanced training and support to effectively monitor, document, and report violations. Additionally, mechanisms will be established to provide timely response and support to HRDs and marginalized communities facing threats and attacks.

Engagin the private sector in responsible business conduct

One of the critical outcomes of this action plan is the engagement of the private sector in dialogue on Responsible Business Conduct (RBC). The Project will build on the gains from the Business and Human Rights annual symposiums to promote Responsible Business conduct through the creation of a platform to dialogue effectively with the private sector. The project will raise awareness, advocate for the development of policies, and enforce regulations to ensure the protection of land and environmental rights through multistakeholder engagements.

As we celebrate European Union Day, let us remember that the pursuit of justice knows no borders.

By supporting initiatives like this collaborative action in Uganda, we uphold the values of responsible business conduct, human rights, accountability, and environmental justice for all.


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Upholding Women’s Land Rights in the implementation of development projects will accelerate progress.



Witness Radio – Uganda Statement: On the International Women’s Day, 2024.

Upholding Women’s Land Rights in the implementation of development projects will accelerate progress.

Wakiso, Uganda. 08th/03/2024. As the world commemorates International Women’s Day 2024 under the theme “Invest in Women, Accelerate Progress” it is imperative to underscore the critical importance of safeguarding women’s human and land rights.

In Uganda, where women play a pivotal role in agricultural production and rely heavily on the land for their livelihoods, the issue of land rights emerges as a central battleground in the fight for gender equality and women empowerment.

Women in Uganda face systematic barriers when it comes to land ownership and control despite their significant contribution to agricultural productivity.

Customary norms and cultural practices often favor male inheritance and land ownership perpetrating a cycle of discrimination and marginalization against women.

This disparity leaves women vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, particularly in the context of land grabbing and eviction.

Tragically, women who assert their rights to land frequently encounter severe threats and human rights violations/abuses.

Witness Radio has documented numerous cases of violence against women smallholder farmers and women rights defenders (WHRDs), including gang rape and physical assault perpetrated by economically powerful and politically connected individuals and institutions with vested interests in land grabbing.

These egregious acts not only violate women’s rights but also perpetrate a culture of impunity and injustice.

The failure to investigate and prosecute violence against women smallholder farmers and WHRDs further exacerbates the impunity enjoyed by perpetrators, leading to more human rights abuses.

Additionally, the aftermath of land evictions often leaves women and their families vulnerable with men sometimes abandoning their responsibilities and leaving women to bear the burden alone.

At the heart of the 2024 theme lies a recognition of the pivotal role women play in driving societal progress. Investing in women encompasses various aspects, including education, healthcare, economic opportunities, and legal rights. However, securing women’s access to and control over land is equally crucial as it intersects with multiple dimensions of their lives.

When women have secure land rights, they are empowered economically and socially. Land ownership enables women to participate meaningfully in economic activities, access financial resources, and contribute to households and community well-being.

Moreover, it enhances women’s agency and autonomy, enabling them to make choices that positively impact their lives and families.

Additionally, access to land is closely linked to food security and healthcare. Secure land rights enable women to engage in sustainable farming practices, improve agricultural productivity, and ensure adequate nutrition for their families.

Furthermore, land ownership can serve as a pathway to accessing health care, thereby promoting women’s overall well-being.

However, the current legal framework governing land rights in Uganda falls short of adequately protecting women’s land rights. Biased laws and customary practices perpetrate gender disparities leaving women vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. Amending land rights is a critical step towards addressing issues affecting women about land rights and promoting gender equality.

In conclusion, protecting women’s land rights is not only a matter of social justice but also a strategic investment in accelerating progress towards gender equality and healthier lives. As we commemorate International Women’s Day 2024, let us reaffirm our community to ensure that women everywhere have equal rights to access, own, and control land resources. By prioritizing women’s land rights, we can unlock the full potential of women and girls as agents of change and drive transformative progress toward a more inclusive and equitable society for all.

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