SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: October 04, 2022

Attack Types: Imprisonment | Prosecution

Institution(s):Gulu University | Kyambogo University | Makerere University

Region & Country:Eastern Africa | Uganda

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On October 4, 2022, police arrested nine students who were participating in a peaceful demonstration in support of a European Union (EU) Parliament resolution to delay the creation of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP).

Approximately 50 protesters marched through Kampala with a petition against the creation of EACOP, which they planned to deliver to an EU Delegation office located in the city. Police intercepted the protesters during their march, and arrested nine on charges of inciting violence (later changed to a nuisance-related charge). Sources do not indicate that the students acted violently or called for violence.

Two students were able to enter the EU Delegation and deliver their petition to the officials.

In a statement on Twitter, the EU Delegation called for the release of the arrested students. On October 10, all of the students were released on bail.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the arrest of students in retaliation for the peaceful exercise of the right to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly – conduct which is protected by international human rights instruments including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which to which Uganda is a party. State authorities have an obligation to refrain from restricting expressive activity, so long as it is nonviolent and responsible. In addition to harm to the immediate victims, the arrest of nonviolent protesters undermines academic freedom and democratic society generally.

*SAR identified this incident in data made publicly available by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED)