Coffee production comes at a cost in Africa. 4,000 Ugandans living in Mubende were forced off their land to make way for a new coffee plantation in 2001.
The Hamburg-based Neumann group, a world leading raw coffee trader, were behind the new plantation which left thousands of Africans homeless. The military razed houses and huts to the ground in four villages, destroying fields and food supplies. The forced evacuation even cost the lives of a number of locals.
While one of many cases of land-grabbing in Africa, Mubende was among the first to be properly documented. Many of those evicted lost everything they had.
With the help of human rights groups they took the Ugandan government and the Neumann concern to court. The trial was dragged out over several years, however, until a ruling was finally reached in March 2013 – in favor of the plaintiffs.
In the spring of 2015 the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural and Social Rights looked into the Mubende case, and called on the Ugandan government to restore the rights of the expelled small scale farmers. In July that year, however, the original judgment was provisionally overturned by the domestic appeals court. The case is now still pending. The victims fear they still have a long struggle ahead of them.
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