Advocating for the right to property, shelter and housing and right to life among indigenous and the most vulnerable communities

shelter_soroti

LOKIRU FELIX & LOKONG PAUL VS ATTORNEY GENERAL High Court Civil suit Number 11 of 2017, Holden at Soroti

Deprivation of property, displacement and irrational resettlements are at its worst among indigenous and poor communities. In Nakapirit district, Karamoja region, ANARDE is representing of 205 people who have filed a suit against the Attorney General for unlawful eviction, inhuman treatment by Uganda Prison Authorities.

The plaintiffs and the represented persons settled onto the land in Nyaruyon village, Kaikuk parish, Namalu Sub County in the late 1970s and early 1980s and utilized it by growing crops that included sorghum, maize, sweet potatoes, cassava, yams, groundnuts, bananas, mangoes oranges, and avocado among others.  They built homes on the same land and settled there until till February, 2014 when they were violently evicted by Uganda Prisons. The plaintiffs and their relatives fled into the bushes and have been living destitute lives since February 2014. The living conditions of the plaintiffs in the bush characterized by lack of shelter, food and adequate clothing has led to many contracting diseases As result of the displacement, and homelessness and hunger, over 53 people have died due to disease and malnutrition.

Uganda Prisons Service claims the land in question is owned under freehold, having been converted in the 1960s from communal land ownership in Namalu. Through mediation, we have secured services of a surveyor and through a joint survey, it has been confirmed that the disputed land does not form part of titled land owned by Uganda prisons Authority.

and since February 2014, fifty three (53) people have died from pneumonia and hunger related causes.

Ugandan law requires that before an eviction the communities affected should be notified of the date of the eviction well in advance and they should be compensated for the land and any developments thereon. Government is also responsible for identifying alternative settlements for the people.

The plaintiffs and the 203 represented persons contend that their constitutional human rights namely; the right to own property and protection from deprivation of property without prior adequate compensation enshrined in Article 26, the right to life which includes the right to livelihood enshrined in Article 22, the right to food, shelter and respect of dignity and the right to freedom from torture, cruel inhuman and degrading treatment were violated and infringed by the defendant and or its agents.

In this case, the plaintiffs pray for judgment against the defendant for declarations and orders that they have a right to life, a right to livelihood, a right to property and prior, adequate and fair compensation in the event of deprivation of property for purposes provided for by the law and that that the unlawful and violent eviction from their land amounted to a violation of all the aforementioned their rights.

They also pray that the defendant compensates them fairly, timely and adequately for their respective tracts of land that were entered into, their crops and the property that was destroyed. Due to the wanton eviction, the plaintiff pray for punitive damages for gross abuse of their rights. Hearing of the case is on 30th August 2018.