Statement: ActionAid Uganda office cordoned and searched by police

ActionAid International is concerned about the police cordon and search raid on the offices of ActionAid Uganda, carried out yesterday afternoon. The stated motivation for the attacks – ‘involvement in illicit activities’ – is broad and unmotivated.

On Wednesday 20 September 2017 at about 4:30 pm local time, approximately 20 police and state security officials entered the ActionAid Uganda Head Offices in Kansanga, Kampala. All staff in the office were prevented from leaving for several hours as the police thoroughly searched the premises; they removed some documents; and confiscated cell-phones and laptops of some staff. No staff were physically harmed.

We understand that ActionAid Uganda may have been targeted because it is a key actor within a broader civil society coalition that is campaigning against the planned amendment of an article in the constitution that would scrap the presidential age limit. Civil society is calling on parliament to focus on the country’s more pressing needs, such as corruption, poverty, inequality, the ongoing and unprecedented spate of unexplained murders of women in and around Kampala and unemployment, especially among young people.

We consider that the accusations against ActionAid Uganda are unfounded and believe that such attacks could have a detrimental impact on the people and communities with whom we work, our partners and civil society in general.

ActionAid remains committed to working with and supporting Uganda’s civil society and fight for justice and democracy. Secretary General of ActionAid International, Adriano Campolina, says ‘We are concerned about the shrinking of civic space within the country.’

ActionAid Uganda Country Director, Arthur Larok, states ‘Despite the inconveniences caused by the cordon and search operation by the police, we are unfazed about advancing our mission to tackle the primary cause of injustice and poverty in Uganda. Our spirit is unshaken and we shall cooperate with the police to see this expeditiously resolved.’

ActionAid has been working in Uganda since 1982. We work to defend the rights of women; the rights of poor and marginalised people to land, food and education; and the right for the people of Uganda to demand justice in the areas of tax, anti-corruption and political accountability.