US based human rights organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) has paid tribute to fallen Ugandan human rights activist James Otto.
Maria Burnett, the associate director in charge of East Africa said in a statement that the organization is saddened by the death of Otto.
She described Otto as a passionate, committed advocate for human rights and justice in northern Uganda and a great friend and ally of Human Rights Watch.
James Otto, 71, passed away on September 23rd due to kidney failure and was laid to rest at his ancestral home in Apiri village, Ongom Sub County, Aruu County in Pader district last week.
“In very dark times, James was a fearless defender of the rights of civilians impacted by the violence in Northern Uganda,” the statement said.
Otto the father to Aruu County MP Odonga Otto was the director of Human Rights Focus, an organization he formed in 1994 together Paulinus Nyeko.
Burnett said he worked closely with hundreds of thousands of people displaced by conflict and sought to shine a bright light on their suffering.
“James’ commitment to speak up about abuses by all sides, including by the Ugandan army in the North – when others feared reprisals – was especially admirable and inspiring,” she stated.
President Yoweri Museveni visited the family and paid his respects to Mzee Otto. Museveni had officiated at the International Day of Older Persons held in Pader District.
Museveni advised the Ottos to do more commercial farming since the family has large land.