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Human rights violations exacerbate for Kaweri evictees

A new study points to massive violations of economic, social, and cultural human rights of thousands of people by the States of Uganda and Germany.

A team from FIAN International and FIAN Germany conducted five research field visits between 2014 – 2019 to investigate the human rights implications of the forced eviction and displacement of 4,000 people to make way for the Kaweri Coffee Plantation in Uganda. A new study based on the research shows that human rights violations, rather than lessening, have intensified due to the lack of access to agricultural land and water.

The team interviewed a long list of evictees and enquired about the living conditions since the displacement in 2001. The interviewees reported they live in a situation of hunger and poverty, lack of access to drinking water, inadequate housing and educational opportunities, break-up of families and violence against women.

"The extent of hunger, poverty and violence resulting from this displacement is alarming," emphasizes Gertrud Falk from FIAN Germany, who is involved in the study. 

In 2001, the Uganda People’s Defense Force stormed the villages of Kitemba, Luwunga, Kijunga and Kiryamakobe in Mubende, forcibly evicting thousands of people from the land that they, and their ancestors, knew as their home. Leaving three deaths, dozens injured and the destruction of houses and crops in their wake, the land was leased to the Kaweri Coffee Plantation Ltd., a 100% subsidiary of the Neumann Kaffee Gruppe (NKG), based in Hamburg/Germany. Despite years of mobilization and legal struggle, the evictees have not yet seen justice and continue to suffer the collateral consequences of this brutal act.

The terrible conditions the community was left in after the eviction (no shelter, no adequate access to drinking water, no health care, to mention just a few), has led to an increase in diseases and deaths. With poverty rates rising, malnutrition also skyrocketed, especially affecting children, pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers and the elderly.  

On 1 July, 2019, the High Court in Kampala ordered mediation between plaintiffs and defendants, yet the deadline passed this week without progress.

"The Ugandan government is continuing a stalling tactic. It is violating its human rights obligation to restore the human rights of the displaced persons and to compensate them. Germany, too, has a human rights obligation to use all means at its disposal to compensate the affected families. But, as the study shows, the federal government has not done so far, " concludes Falk.

The plaintiffs' lawsuit will be heard again in court on 2 December in Uganda.
Read the study “Human Rights violations in the context of Kaweri Coffee Plantation/Neumann Kaffee Gruppe in Mubende/Uganda”
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