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Council for Abavandimwe Petitions Parliament Over Human Rights Violations :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Council for Abavandimwe Petitions Parliament Over Human Rights Violations

Led by the Chairman Council for Abavandimwe, Frank Gashumba and their Vice Chairman Dr Lawrence Muganga, who also doubles as the Victoria University Vice Chancellor, the petitioners raised three major concerns namely; denials of IDs, Passports and exploitation during elections.
Council for Abavandimwe petitions Parliament Speaker Anita Annet Among

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Council for Abavandimwe, an umbrella association representing the interests of Banyarwanda natives born and raised in Uganda has petitioned the Speaker of Parliament Anita Annet Among citing gross human rights violations.

Led by the Chairman Council for Abavandimwe, Frank Gashumba and their Vice Chairman Dr Lawrence Muganga, who also doubles as the Victoria University Vice Chancellor, the petitioners raised three major concerns namely; denials of IDs, Passports and exploitation during elections.

They said that it has become a norm for citizens of Uganda belonging to Banyarwanda tribe to be denied identification documents such as National Identity Cards – IDs and passports. 

Gashumba stated that even those with the documents have had them confiscated by the Immigration officials at the Border Points such as Katuna and Kagitumba whenever they attempt to travel out of Uganda either for study or business purposes.

"Our people day in day out, thousands of Ugandans are being denied National Identification Cards, they are being denied passports, and those who have old passports if they go to the Ministry of Internal Affairs for renewal, they are denied passports . Speaker, when you are denied a national ID, you are economically crippled ", said Gashumba.

Gashumba has further decried to the Speaker that there is a new scenario now where a person can be in possession of a hard copy of the national ID but when he or she goes to register for a company or simcard, upon verification, they are informed that they are no longer registered on the National Identification Registration Authority - NIRA system.

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He reasons that the victims of the ongoing denial of national IDs and passports are however, issued voters slips every five years to vote during general elections, wondering why they are Ugandans during elections but dismissed as non-Ugandans when they apply for national IDs and passports.

The Kiboga District Woman MP Christine Nakimwero Kaaya who attended the meeting appealed to the Speaker to direct the Immigration officials to refund monies for the unsuccessful passport applicants, adding that the victims complain of losing both the opportunity to get passport as well as their cash.

In response to  the group’s concerns, Speaker Among condemned all forms of discrimination   meted against the victims saying whether  one is   attached to Rwanda or not, one  still remains a citizen of Uganda entitled to the freedom of speech and association.

Among said Parliament will write to the line ministries and ask them to bring a response on the floor of the August House for the matter to be addressed.

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The Speaker has also tasked the head of the Council to compile a list of the people who have faced ifficulties in accessing the documents and submit it to her office. She pledged that they will be called to Parliament’s Committee on Internal Affairs to present their concerns. According to Among, their matter will also be discussed by the August House next week. Anita added that she has a Member of Parliament Sewungu who is a Munyarwanda.

Kalungu County West MP for Sewungu Gonzaga said there are many Banyarwanda MPs and promised to furnish a list to the Speaker.   He suggested a constitutional amendment to incorporate all the issues related to the Bavandimwe so as to have the issues solved at once.

There are over 11 million Banyarwanda known as Abavandimwe who are now Citizens of Uganda. The 1995 Constitution recognizes them as one of the indigenous tribes.

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