Uganda’s nascent mining industry could do more harm than good for indigenous people unless the government makes reforms and mining companies start respecting rights, Human Rights Watch has said in a new report. Uganda’s government has promoted private investment in mining in the remote northeastern Karamoja region to bring economic development, but should implement reforms to respect the rights of indigenous people to determine how their lands are used.
The 140-page report, “‘How Can We Survive Here?’ The Impact of Mining on Human Rights in Karamoja, Uganda,” examines the conduct of three companies in different stages of the mining process: East African Mining, Jan Mangal, and DAO Uganda. Human Rights Watch found that companies have explored for minerals and actively mined on lands owned and occupied by Karamoja’s indigenous people. But the Ugandan government, in partnership with the private sector, has excluded customary land owners from making decisions about the development of their own lands and has proceeded without their consent. Human Rights Watch also found that donors, including the World Bank, have failed the people of Karamoja by working to enhance the burgeoning mining sector without addressing indigenous people’s rights, including the right to development.
Visit the Human Rights Watch website for the full report, photographs and video on mining in Karamoja.