Regional rights bodies fault security over poll violence
What you need to know:
- They further warn that should Ugandan authorities continue with human rights abuses, the country could slide into total tyranny and a de facto one-party state.
The East Africa Law Society and the African Defenders have condemned human rights violations by Ugandan security forces against citizens in the ongoing 2021 election campaigns.
In separate statements, the two regional bodies cautioned the Uganda government to immediately refrain from committing human rights violations or else they will be held accountable.
“Over the past few days, we have observed and noted with such trepidation increasing reports on the detoriating state of human rights, civic space, and rule of law within the Republic of Uganda, a few days to the January 14, 2021 General Election,” the East Africa lawyers stated in their December 31 statement signed off by their president, Mr Bernard Oundo.
The East Africa Law Society consists of Law Society of Kenya, Uganda Law Society, Tanganyika Law Society, Rwanda Bar Association, Burundi Bar Association, and South Sudan Bar Association.
“We are monitoring the situation in the Republic of Uganda and collecting crucial evidence that will enable us to institute actions against these acts that violate the East African Community Treaty,” the regional lawyers stated.
Their counterparts, the Southern African Human Rights Defenders Network and the Pan-African Human Rights Defenders Network in a statement dated December 30, 2020 called upon Uganda government authorities to respect human rights and uphold the constitution.
“We call upon the authorities in Uganda to exercise self-restraint and respect human life and uphold its own Constitution as well as observe regional and international obligations,” the statement said.
They condemned the arbitrary arrest of human rights defender Nicholas Opiyo, the violent attacks on journalists covering Opposition candidates and the arrest of Opposition politicians like Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine.
They further warn that should Ugandan authorities continue with human rights abuses, the country could slide into total tyranny and a de facto one-party state.