Uganda: Information on the Ugandan People's Congress (UPC), including where it is located, whether its members have committed human rights abuses and the type and level of military activity they are involved in, including information on how UPC fighters are recruited
|Publisher||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||1 April 1996|
|Citation / Document Symbol||UGA23778.E|
|Cite as||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Uganda: Information on the Ugandan People's Congress (UPC), including where it is located, whether its members have committed human rights abuses and the type and level of military activity they are involved in, including information on how UPC fighters are recruited, 1 April 1996, UGA23778.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6ab188c.html [accessed 19 February 2018]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
The following information was provided during a 22 April 1996 telephone interview with a professor who is a specialist on Ugandan politics and government at Dartmouth College in Hanover, Maryland.
According to the source, the Ugandan People's Congress (UPC) is split between an exiled wing and the country operations which includes party offices in Uganda. The source also stated the UPC splintered in 1985, when Milton Obote, leader of the UPC was overthrown by Basilio Olara Okello. The Okello government was deposed in 1986 by Yoweri Museveni and the National Resistance Movement. Okello's forces regrouped in Sudan and engaged in warfare in northern Uganda, committing various human rights abuses. Many of these individuals were also former members of the UPC, but were no longer loyal to Obote.
Two groups in eastern Uganda that have connections to the UPC are the Uganda People's Army (UPA), led by Peter Otai and Force Obote Back Again (FOBA). Both have been engaged in military or guerrilla activities and share a similar goal to restore Obote to power. The UPA is known to operate in the Mbale, Soroti, and Kumi districts and, according to the source, the group carries out hit-and-run guerrilla raids, abductions, robberies, torture and murder. The source is uncertain if these two groups are presently active, and is not aware of the specific recruitment practices of these groups.
The source was unable to comment on the degree to which the UPC directs or controls military and guerrilla activity trying to restore Obote to power, but the source believes that the UPC would not accept responsibility for the actions of the guerrilla groups and would deny any allegations linking the party to these groups. According to the source, the UPC does not directly recruit fighters.
Presently there is on-going fighting in the north of Uganda, but the source maintains that the group involved in the fighting, the Lord's Resistance Army led by Joseph Kony, does not have links to the UPC.
A 9 April 1996 facsimile received by the DIRB from the Uganda High Commission states that "UPC offices are open at Uganda House, and the party is not banned owns property and collects rents, its bank accounts are not frozen." According to Reuters, Obote is presently living in exile in Zambia (4 June 1995).
Please consult the attachments for additional information on the UPC and other political groups with links to the UPC in Uganda, as well as documentation on human rights abuses committed by the UPA.
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.
Professor of politics and government, specializing in Uganda, Dartmouth College, Hanover, Maryland. 22 April 1996. Telephone interview.
Reuters. 4 June 1995. BC Cycle. "Ugandan President Rules Out Amnesty for Idi Amin." (NEXIS)
Uganda High Commission, Ottawa. 9 April 1996. Facsimile letter received by the DIRB.
Amnesty International. September 1992. Uganda: The Failure to Safe-Guard Human Rights. (AI Index: AFR 59/05/92). London: Amnesty International, pp. 64-69.
_____. December 1991. Uganda: Human Rights Violations by the National Resistance Army. (AI Index: AFR 59/20/91). London: Amnesty International, pp. 18-20.
Political Handbook of the World: 1994-1995. 1995. Edited by Arthur S. Banks. Binghamton, NY: CSA Publications, pp. 902-03.
Reuters. 4 June 1995. BC Cycle. "Ugandan President Rules Out Amnesty for Idi Amin". (NEXIS)
Uganda High Commission, Ottawa. 9 April 1996. Facsimile letter received by the DIRB