Freedom Uganda was initiated in October 2020 to provide information about Human Rights & Democracy in Uganda. The documentation of crimes has resulted in the “Victims Database”, a list of over 2000 Victims of murder, torture, abduction, rape & intimidation, which was presented to the International Criminal Court in May 2023.

What we do: 

Freedom Uganda focuses on two main objectives:

(1) Advocacy and rule of law: Understanding the idea that advocacy is necessary for policy reform, capacity building on the basic human rights principles, Freedom Uganda is taking a  bottom-up approach by empowering local populations and institutions to ensure that all  peoples live in dignity and respect human rights. This is done through regular webinars,  dissemination of information and materials, and human rights training. 

 (2) Human rights database: We are convinced that having statistical records is key to improving  human rights protection and it increases credibility to recommendations and policy reform in  a country. Therefore, with the help of our team and volunteers, we maintain a database on  first- hand human rights violations in Uganda. We record and report incidents directly from  victims and eyewitnesses across the country.

Every two weeks Freedom Uganda organizes webinars related to these subjects.

Meet the team

Nico Schoonderwoerd

Dr. Nico Schoonderwoerd is a physicist, works in the financial industry, and is one of the co-founders of Freedom Uganda. He also led the UVote team of Ugandans, that developed an app to monitor the January 2021 elections.

Patricia Namyalo (retired)

Ugandan Human Rights Activist, co-founder Freedom Uganda, Unite Here Local 25 leader, and organizer, Workers’ and Labor Rights Defender.

Miria Bukirwa

Uganda Human Rights Activist, co-founder Freedom Uganda, Broker commissions Analyst, HN/CA. The dire state and increased violation and gross abuse of human rights in Uganda pushed her to stand up for those that are voiceless. 

Isaac Katongole

He’s a Denmark-based Human Right defender, former member of the UVote team, specialized in ICT.

Ismail Goloba

A wise man once remarked, ‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.’ Moved by this sentiment, I refuse to stand by while tyranny overshadows my people. In collaboration with dedicated individuals, we are collectively driven by a singular vision: to usher in an era of justice and freedom for Uganda. My name is Ismail Goloba, a Human Rights Defender and the latest addition to the team.

Promotion and protection of Human Rights: 

Human rights are not created or granted by any State, rather, they exist by virtue of our existence as  human beings and protect our inherent human dignity. They are regarded as universal, innaliable, and interrelated because, they are not limited to state borders, and they apply to all human beings  regardless of their nationality, color, ethnic group, language, religion, sex, among others. In fact,  human rights aim at promoting the integral development of a human being and that is why, it is  Important for a comprehensive interpretation of civil and political rights as well as economic, social, and cultural rights. The entire world affirmed to these rights in the United Nations Declaration for  Human rights in 1948 and in its preamble, it emphasizes that, “the inherent dignity and of the equal  and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and  peace in the world”. The affirmation on fundamental rights was later transformed into state  commitments and obligations under the seven core human rights treaties. Therefore, in whatever  governments do, the important aspect must be the centrality of human beings and countries must be  committed to the Four-Fold Human Rights Principles of respecting, promotion, protection and  fulfilment of its international obligations towards those fundamental rights and freedoms.  

However, since 2011, Uganda as a member of the U.N and a signatory to the core-international  treaties on human rights has witnessed a horrible period of excessive police brutality such as torture,  unlawful arrests, beating, unlawful killings, and the establishment of safe houses across the country.  These violations continue to desecrate the sanctity of human dignity through public humiliation and  torture. Throughout the years, security agencies (Police officers, special forces, UPDF, and Local  Defense Units) repeatedly used excessive force while arresting suspects, especially women, and  unlawfully deployed heavy weapons like tear gas, heavy sticks, and rubber bullets against protesters.  There have been cases of indiscriminate killings of civilians and their properties , and on many occasions, there have been reported cases of kidnap and disappearances, torture in detention places  and a curtail to the freedom of expression and access to justice.  

Despite the available reports on these gross violations, often, there are no procedures to bring to  justice those officers who shoot to kill unarmed civilians and there is no remedy to those who have  been humiliated and tortured by security forces. Therefore, our overall goal is to ensure that each  person in Uganda lives in the dignity that he or she deserves, to ensure that the Ugandan government  improves the protection of the fundamental rights, to ensure that civilians and law enforcers know  their rights and duties, and to bring to account those acts that contradicts the law.