Uganda will not renew the mandate of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the United Nations which must end this year, considering that it has “developed dynamic internal institutions on human rights”, announced Wednesday to AFP the government, immediately criticized by the opposition.
“The whole of Uganda is peaceful and we have developed dynamic internal institutions (…) such as the Uganda Human Rights Commission,” said Henry Oryem Okello, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, to justify the non-renewal of the mandate of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, established since 2005 in this East African country.
“Our human rights record has improved considerably over the years under the leadership of President Museveni,” he said.
President Yoweri Museveni has ruled Uganda with an iron fist since 1986.
The Ugandan authorities informed the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in a letter sent on February 3, consulted by AFP, stating that “the government will continue its cooperation with the OHCHR headquarters directly or through its permanent mission in Geneva.
The decision was criticized by Muwada Nkunungi, a member of the National Unity Platform led by Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine, one of the main opponents of President Yoweri Museveni.
“The Museveni government is paranoid. It is not surprising that they are not renewing the mandate because they fear strict respect for human rights,” Muwada Nkunyingi told AFP, continuing: “The government wants to violate human rights without hindrance.
The human rights office in Kampala has not yet responded to requests from AFP.
During the last presidential election in 2021, journalists were attacked, lawyers imprisoned and several opposition leaders muzzled.
An expert member of the UN Committee against Torture said in November 2022 that “torture and ill-treatment” remained “widespread and frequent in Uganda.
Uganda ranks 132nd (out of 180) in the 2022 World Press Freedom Index compiled by the journalists’ rights NGO Reporters Without Borders.