Our community helped get Ugandan activists out of jail!

After the arrest and detention of nonviolent youth activists in Uganda, the Rhize community sprang into action.

We worked directly with local organizations and actors in Uganda to get activists out of jail. We would not have been able to do this without your solidarity.

With your help we double our rapid response goal of $1000, and amplified the call for justice to over 325,000 people in 58 cities and 22 countries. This is the power of the Rhize community.

With your continued support, Rhize can continue to leverage our collective power and respond to the ever-changing needs and realities of activists on the frontlines of today's most pressing social movements.

more background information

On December 16th, police from a unit known as the "Flying Squad" raided activists offices in Kampala and brutally arrested 15 youth activists known for their nonviolent activism, including Scovia Arinaitwe and Buwembo Habib and others listed below. They were being held without charge at high risk of torture, facing interrogations. Many of the activists are mothers and breadwinners for their families, who are now at high risk. We raised money for bail, legal fees, food and water for detainees, and basic necessities for their families for things like child care, food, and transport to/from jail.

Movement-building is about long-term power, and in these moments, we have to show our solidarity not just through elevating the important work of these activists but by ensuring their safety and that they can make it back home to their families.

Most of the jailed activists were known for their work with The Alternative, which fights for the rights of unemployed youth (the majority of youth in Uganda) and Women4Uganda, which supports women’s access to basic rights.

Amongst them was activist Scovia Arinaitwe, who is a trainer, Rapid Response Coordinator and part of the Team of Directors for Solidarity Uganda/Action Alliance. A mother of two, she helped start the Women’s Movement which in its early days contributed to the scrapping of a Parliamentary bill to remove constitutional age limits (for judges, and potentially the president). She is a member of a number of youth activist groups in Kampala. She originally joined Solidarity Uganda while running one movement’s recruitment efforts which brought political prisoners on board by visiting them, bringing them basic necessities, and working for their release even where political parties, human rights agencies, and family members feared to step foot. While recently pregnant, she joined a women’s land rights caravan to Mt. Kilimanjaro. Under Scovia’s training and coaching, she’s been able to connect over 2,000 activists with movement-building training.

As we get more information, we will share more stories of these activists’ incredible work. Join us to make sure you don't miss these updates.

Activists have been challenging the upcoming vote on the Age Limit Bill in a campaign that has been growing and widespread throughout the country for months. The arrests came ahead of current President Museveni's plan to pass the Age Limit Bill, which is a blank check for a life term for Musveni, who has held that position since 1986. The bill overturns a constitutional amendment stating that no president can be elected if they are over the age of 75 years.


December 20, 2017

8:30AM ET: Victory! All detained activists have been released on bail bond. The fight is not over as they face legal proceedings, medical issues caused by poor jail conditions and ongoing threats to their activism. But, for now, they are safe.

December 19, 2017

11:30AM ET: Great news! Scovia and Mega have been released from police custody on bail bond. 13 more activists to go!

December 18, 2017

8:45AM ET: We just received news that one of the detained activists, Scovia Arinaitwe, has been hospitalized after pleading for medical attention for over 5 hours. She is joined at St. Francis Naggalama Hospital by her comrade Nasali Margret (Mega) who is also seeking medical attention after enduring poor conditions at Nagalama Police Station.

8:15AM ET: Thanks to people like you, we had an incredible outpouring of support and reached our $1000 goal to help the 16 Ugandan activists that were detained on Saturday, December 16th get legal assistance, food and water and care for their young children and families who are being affected by their detention.

However, we are continuing to accept additional donations to put towards our rapid response fund. Emergencies like this are a part of activists’ daily reality and unfortunately, this will probably not be the last time activists like Scovia and the 15 others arrested with her will need our support.

With your support we can make sure that Rhize is ready to support activists when they are in crisis in the future.

December 17, 2017
3:00 PM ET: Thank you! We've raised $805 for these activists.