Given that it has “developed dynamic internal institutions on human rights,” Uganda will not extend the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the United Nations’ mandate, which must expire this year, the government announced to AFP on Wednesday. The decision drew immediate criticism from the opposition.
The non-renewal of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ mandate, established in this East African nation since 2005, was justified by Henry Oryem Okello, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, on the grounds that “the entire country of Uganda is peaceful and we have developed dynamic internal institutions (…) such as the Uganda Human Rights Commission.”
“Under President Museveni’s guidance, our human rights record has significantly improved over the years,” he said.
Since 1986, Uganda has been governed by President Yoweri Museveni with an iron fist.
In a letter dated February 3 and obtained by AFP, the Ugandan government informed the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) of the following: “The government will continue to work directly or through its permanent mission in Geneva with the OHCHR headquarters.
Muwada Nkunungi, a member of the National Unity Platform led by Robert Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine, one of President Yoweri Museveni’s main rivals, criticized the choice.
“The Museveni administration is fearful. Because they fear strict adherence to human rights, it is not surprising that they are not renewing the mandate, Muwada Nkunyingi told AFP. He added: “The government wants to violate human rights without restraint.
Requests from AFP have not yet received a response from the human rights office in Kampala.
Journalists were attacked, attorneys were detained, and several opposition leaders had their voices silenced during the most recent presidential election in 2021.
In November 2022, a knowledgeable representative of the UN Committee against Torture stated that “torture and ill-treatment” were still “widespread and frequent in Uganda.”
In the 2022 World Press Freedom Index compiled by the journalists’ rights NGO Reporters Without Borders, Uganda is ranked 132nd (out of 180).