Ugandan Activists Decry Closure of UN Human Rights Office in UgandaThomas Aquinas LOKOL
Activists and opposition in Uganda have cried foul at the government’s decision to close the United Nations human rights office in the country. A letter from Uganda’s foreign ministry leaked this week said the U.N. office was no longer needed because the government is capable of upholding human rights. Rights activists in the country strongly disagree.
The mandate of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights effectively ends today, February 9, three years after it was last renewed.
Human rights activists say the government of Uganda has been playing hide and seek whenever renewal of the mandate came up.
The government in a letter dated February 3 said that due to the prevailing peace throughout the country, coupled with strong national human rights institutions and a vibrant civil society with the capacity to monitor, promote and protect human rights in Uganda, it will not renew the mandate of the office.
Uganda Says It Will Not Renew Mandate of UN Human Rights Office
Livingstone Sewanyana, director of a local NGO, the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, tells VOA that the closure is surprising, but he sees it as part of a larger trend.
“However, for the last couple of years, we are aware that Uganda’s civil society has been weakening,” he said. “The civic space has been shrinking. And increasingly we are also aware that the Uganda human rights commission’s capacity has been growing less and less. Now, it is the time to rebuild that.”
In February 2021, after Uganda’s general elections, Bobi Wine, the leader of the opposition National Unity Party platform, delivered a petition to the U.N. human rights office in Kampala.https://www.voanews.com/a/ugandan-activists-decry-closure-of-un-human-rights-office-in-uganda-/6955677.html