Govt Urged to Probe Flower Farm Poisoning

2309 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Last week 82 workers were affected after they were reportedly forced to enter a green house owned by Royal Van Zanten within a few minutes of spraying chemicals. The women reportedly suffered skin and eye irritations, headaches, abdominal pain, vomiting and dizziness moments later.

Legal Aid Service Providers Network, a loose coalition advocating for access to justice, has raised concern over safety of more than 80 women who were poisoned at flower farm in Wakiso district.

Last week 82 workers were affected after they were reportedly forced to enter a green house owned by a flower farm -Royal Van Zanten-within a few minutes of spraying chemicals. The women reportedly suffered skin and eye irritations, headaches, abdominal pain, vomiting and dizziness moments later.

Many of the workers collapsed and were rushed to the farm clinic, before being transferred to other facilities for better management. Four of the affected workers are still admitted at Kadic Hospital Kampala while the others have gone back to the same farm for employment.

But the network Executive Director Sylvia Namubiru says fears that the workers lives could be endangered. She calls for government intervention to improve the safety and general working environment of the workers. Namubiru also calls for a probe into the running of the horticulture industry.
 
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Namubiru called upon the parliament of Uganda to take up the matter and investigate the farm.

The Legal Aid Service Providers Network also raised concern over reported abuse and intimidation of human rights defenders taking on the case. According to the legal activists, the responsibility to offer legal aid by the legal aid service providers is being threatened by key Government officials.

Munduru Mercy, a senior advocacy officer states that key persons in the national organisation of trade unions and health workers who are working on the patients have reported threats and intimidation in regards to the case.
 
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Munduru states that the flower farm incidence is only pointing towards a much bigger problem of exploitation of workers and also their safety looking at the different investments in the country.

 

About the author

Alex Otto
“Journalism that changes lives is my goal,” Alex Otto has said on more than one occasion. That is his career’s guiding principle. Has been since he was a radio journalist in the northern Ugandan town of Gulu in 2009.

Otto passionately believes his journalism should bring to the fore the voices of the voiceless like the shooting victims of Apaa. Otto tries in his journalism to ask tough questions to those in positions of authority.

Based in the Kampala bureau, Otto is especially interested in covering agriculture, politics, education, human rights, crime, environment and business. He has reported intensively on the post-conflict situation in northern Uganda.

A URN staff member since 2014, Otto previously worked with The Observer Newspaper from 2012 to 2013 and later the Institute for War and Peace Reporting IWPR based in Gulu.

He was the URN Gulu bureau chief 2014-2016.