Uganda: UN human rights workplace to shut on Saturday

The closure of the workplace in Kampala follows the latest closure of sub-offices in Gulu and Moroto sub-offices.

In February, the Authorities determined to terminate the mandate of the Excessive Commissioner’s Workplace, OHCHR, in Uganda. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and human rights defenders denounced the transfer and had known as for its reversal, based on media reviews.

“I remorse that our workplace in Uganda needed to shut after 18 years, throughout which we have been capable of work intently with civil society, folks from numerous walks of life in Uganda, in addition to partaking with State establishments for the promotion and safety of the human rights of all Ugandans,” Volker Türk mentioned in a information launch.

“On our half, the UN human rights workplace stays dedicated to engaged on human rights in Uganda, consistent with my international mandate,” he added.

Progress, however challenges stay

Excessive Commissioner Türk recalled the engagement with the Authorities and companions, together with integration of the Sustainable Improvement Targets (SDGs) in nationwide planning, and the adoption of a nationwide motion plan on enterprise and human rights.

“A lot progress has been made within the nation over time, however severe human rights challenges stay within the path to full enjoyment of human rights for all,” he mentioned.

Specifically, Mr. Türk expressed concern concerning the interval forward of the 2026 elections, given an more and more hostile surroundings through which human rights defenders, civil society actors and journalists are working.

Earlier this 12 months, different UN human rights mechanisms, such because the Committee towards Torture and the Human Rights Committee, additionally expressed issues, together with over the enactment of the Anti-Homosexuality Act in Could 2023 that criminalises consenting sexual relations between adults of the identical intercourse and gives extreme sanctions, together with the loss of life penalty.

‘Power’ underfunding of nationwide rights physique

Mr. Türk known as on the Authorities to make sure the Uganda Human Rights Fee can operate successfully and independently, as the principle physique tasked with human rights oversight within the nation.

“[The Commission], our long-standing accomplice within the safety and promotion of human rights within the nation, is chronically under-funded and under-staffed, and reviews of political interference in its mandate undermine its legitimacy, independence and impartiality,” he mentioned.

“I urge the Ugandan authorities to supply the Fee with sufficient human, technical and monetary sources in order that it might extra successfully execute its necessary mandate.”

Established in 2005

OHCHR’s Uganda workplace was established in July 2005 with places of work in Gulu, Kitgum, Kotido, Lira, Pader, Soroti, and the pinnacle workplace in Kampala.

Its preliminary mandate targeted on the human rights scenario within the conflict-affected areas of Northern and Northeastern Uganda. In 2009, the mandate was prolonged to cowl the whole nation and all human rights points.  

The OHCHR workplace in Uganda was among the many largest stand-alone UN human rights presences in Africa. 

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