Uganda: Government should desist from infringing on freedom of expression and association
27 Jun 2012
ARTICLE 19 is concerned at the recent moves by the Ugandan government to curtail freedom of expression through intimidation and threats to Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs). ARTICLE 19 calls upon the government to respect and promote freedom of expression as defined by the Constitution of Uganda and the international human rights instruments that the country voluntarily ratified.
“What we are seeing now is a protracted move by the Ugandan government to continuously narrow down space for freedom of expression, freedom of association and assembly. The government by omission or commission has done a lot to stifle the media through threats, arrests and detentions, physical attacks against journalists, and this has been effective in silencing the critical media in Uganda. It seems now they feel it is time to move onto the civil society” says Mr. Maina.
In recent days, Ministers in the government of President Yoweri Meseveni issued intimidating statements aimed at non-governmental organisations threatening their ability to work in Uganda by revoking their license to operate.
The government accuses international and local non-government organisations of engaging in “negative political activism” and “supporting homosexuality under the guise of fighting for human rights.
On Tuesday 19 June, the state owned newspaper, The New Vision reported and quoted the Minister of Internal Affairs, Eng. Hilary Onek, saying that the government was considering deregistering international and local NGO's that have consistently engaged in what it called "negative political activism" to render the country ungovernable.
The Minister of Ethics and Integrity, Rev. Fr. Simon Lokodo is also reported to have said that he had finalised arrangements to de-register some 38 NGO’s in Uganda.
“They will be de-registered for supporting homosexuality under the guise of fighting for human rights”. The minister was appearing on a local FM radio (93.3KFM) talk show on Monday the 18th June 2012 in Kampala to discuss issues of human rights and LGBTIs.
The talk show followed events during the day, where the police, on orders of the minister had dispersed and detained participants in a workshop organized by the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project for human rights workers.
As a signatory to the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the Ugandan government is obliged to protect and promote freedom of expression.
ARTICLE 19 calls upon the government to uphold and protect peoples’ freedoms and rights and not to use allegations of so-called negative political activism to criminalise legitimate voices of dissent.
NOTE TO EDITORS:
- For more media interviews please contact: Paul Kimumwe, Senior Programme Officer, Freedom of Expression, ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa, Email:firstname.lastname@example.org or call on +254 (20) 3862230/2
- ARTICLE 19 is an independent human rights organisation that works around the world to protect and promote the right to freedom of expression. It takes its name from Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantees free speech
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