Don’t deny civil society operating space - EU

Friday July 20 2012

By RICHARD WANAMBWA

The government has been urged not to stifle the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) operating in the country as this will limit the growth of democracy and other civil liberties in the country.

Addressing guests at the national launch of the Democracy Torch in Kampala on Tuesday, the Charge d’Affairs at the European Union, Ms Anna Carin Platon, said the EU upholds human rights and other key elements of good governance which are fundamental to effectively combat poverty, prevent conflicts, and promote justice, adding that most of the above are implemented by the CSOs.

“There has recently been growing concern among CSOs about threats of de-registering by government. Although, it is undoubted that the government has a duty to regulate and the CSOs have a duty to follow the regulations, the exercise of this duty shouldn’t have the effect of stifling the role of CSOs,” Ms Platon said.

She called for the creation of an environment conducive for a vibrant civil society that represents views, and rights of all citizens, arguing that this will contribute to the promotion of democracy, good governance and accountability in Uganda.

Ms Platon’s concerns come at the time when the Ugandan government is allegedly proposing to de-register NGOs that are seen to be working against government and implementing the interests of their funders.

Chief Justice Benjamin Odoki, who was the chief guest at the event, expressed satisfaction about the project and said taking a holistic approach to promote good governance was a reflection that the citizens are checking their leaders.

“The flame in the burning torch symbolises a spirit of passion and commitment. The torch also brings light and so let this light be carried to all districts and enlighten the leaders. Let it remove all the dark shadows sometimes found in the corridors of power.”
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