Attorney General Summoned over brutal and forceful eviction of artisanal miners
The attorney general and 4 other parties have been summoned by Mubende high court over the brutal and forceful eviction of over 20,000 artisanal miners in Mubende district.
Ms. Deborah wanume the registrar Mubende high court has called upon the Attorney general, AUC Mining Uganda, Gemstone international limited, col. Joseph Balikuddembe the commander who was in- charge of the evictions in Mubende district, Edwards Kato the Director, Directorate of Geological Survey and Mines (DGSM) to appear before the court on the 21/march /2018
The regsitrar adjourned the case to 21/march/2018 on grounds that all the defendants in the case had not been present as agreed for the mediations to commence.
“Am therefore issuing the last date for the mediations and in case all the parties fail to turn up then case will be set for hearing.” Wanume said
These summons came after a civil suit was filed on 11/Oct/2017 at Mubende high court by Action Aid International Uganda, African Center For Energy and Mineral Policy , Singo Artisanal And Small Scale Miners Association, Emmanuel Kibirige and Bukya john Bosco over brutal and forceful eviction of artisanal miners without a fair hearing.
According to the filled case ,the displacement , expropriation and lawful eviction which was arbitrary effected without prior and informed consent from the miners inflicted upon the artisanal and small scale miners indescribable physical, economic , social, cultural and psychological loss ,misery, pain, anguish and suffering.
The government and her agents have grossly violated the fundamental human rights and freedoms of the customary and lawful occupantion of land and over 20,000 artisanal and small scale miners are guaranteed. breached uganda’s mining policy and laws , international treaties , covenants , standards and practices and procedures
The conduct of forceful eviction, expropriation and displacement as well as confiscation, destruction of their properties, consumption of their food and beverages and takeover of their business, the government and her agents violated the artisanal miners’ rights to property.
The forceful and brutal eviction of over 20,000 artisanal and small scale miners who are the customary owners of the land in mubende and arbitrary denial of their applications for location licences was without a hearing, infringed upon their fundamental human right to fair hearing , natural justice and just treatment in administrative decision making. Threatened and infringed upon their economic rights including the right to work and practice their chosen trade, occupation and professions and their right to development and livelihood.
It’s upon the above human violations that the artisanal miners have sought solace in court with hope of bringing their abusers to book.
Their please included requesting the commissioner of geological survey and mines and the mines director to expeditiously consider and process the artisanal miners applications for location licence in strict adherence to the mining laws, government to perform their legal duties and attend to the rights and interests of the land owners, users and occupiers prior to authorizing any person to mine gold on the contested land and request for a permanent injunction restraining the government or her agents, army, police or any other person by them instructed from further evicting /chasing, interfering with the activities , intimidating or otherwise harassing the artisanal and small scale miners from the suit land.
Other please include directing the state attorney general and mines director to cancel the exploration licences of the two companies ie AUC mining uganda and Gemstone international on the suit land or exploration area in dispute.
The Mubende evictions followed a presidential directive to evict all the artisanal miners in the district on grounds that the people in the mines were not registered, government didn’t know the amount of gold they were getting from this area, the people operating in this area were not registered nationals and increased environmental degradation which is a threat to the nearby communities.
However the permanent secretary at the time, under Ministry of energy and mineral development Dr.Stephen Isabalija in the letter dated 02/august/2017 titled statement on illegal mining activities in uganda explained that government was putting in place intervention to ensure local artisans get registered in all mining areas of Kitumbi and Bukuya sub counties so that they can be organised into groups that shall ultimately be regulated.
The intervention was anticipated to take 3 months which would subsequently help the ministry of energy and mineral development to re-organise mining activities supported by Uganda police force; Uganda peoples defence forces; directorate of citizenship and immigration control under the ministry of internal affairs and led by ministry of energy and mineral development.