Pandemic and Human Rights Abuses in Uganda: Deaths, Injuries, and Broken Promises

Starting in early 2020, countries across the world hastily declared lockdowns to curb the spread of the coronavirus. In many countries, security agencies took on the responsibility of implementing lockdown measures.

Uganda found itself in this situation when President Yoweri Museveni announced a total lockdown in March 2020. The security agencies were entrusted with the responsibility of enforcing the curfew. Among them were the Local Defense Unit soldiers (LDUs), who had been newly recruited to curb crime in urban centers.

However, within months the LDU soldiers were accused of human rights abuses while attempting to enforce the curfew. Before Uganda registered the first coronavirus fatality, LDUs had allegedly killed seven people.

This project is a chronicle of the victims’ pain: Relatives of those allegedly murdered reflect on what the loss meant, and those who were maimed speak of agony they endured as promises by the government never came to fruition.