The Government of Uganda has terminated the operations of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Uganda.
OHCHR, a department of the United Nations Secretariat, is mandated to promote and protect the enjoyment and full realization, by all people, of all rights established in the Charter of the United Nations and in international human rights laws and treaties. The office is also responsible for ensuring that human rights are incorporated into all work carried out by UN agencies.
Founded in 2006, as a response to the conflict in northern and north eastern Uganda the office renewed its services in 2009 and grew to cover the whole country and holistic approach to human rights issues.
According to Radio Sapentia news, the mandate for the Office was further expanded to include the establishment of a Regional Human Rights Training Centre in Uganda; to provide training activities on the international human rights system for Government officials of interested States in the region, as well as national human rights institutions and civil society organizations.
The office came to the limelight in the aftermath of the 2021 general election when military and police personnel clashed with a team of supporters of the National Unity Platform –NUP who were presenting a petition to the office over human rights violations in the country.
Aside from opposition supporters, another group that suffered gross human rights violations during this period were journalists who were beaten and injured in their pursuit of the news.
The office has been in talks with the government of Uganda about the terms of their continuance in the country and on January 4, 2023 sent an application for the renewal of the Host Country Agreement between the government of Uganda and the mandate. The ministry of internal affairs however says that given the strong government commitment to the promotion and protection of Human Rights, the prevailing peace throughout the country, coupled with strong National Human Rights Institutions and a vibrant Civil Society — with the capacity to monitor the promotion and protection of human rights throughout the country, it can no longer renew the mandate beyond the current term.
According to Uganda’s UPR process last year, the country still has quite a number of Human rights issues ongoing and for the ministry of internal affairs to paint the picture of a human rights euphoria is to deceive the whole world at best! Currently there are still targeted groups facing infringement of their human rights. People that have come out to be vocal about their opposition for the current state of things in Uganda are still disappearing to unknown locations? The LGBT+ community of Uganda is undergoing unnecessary scrutiny and threats with closure of the network organization for equal rights and a witch hunt into the rest of organizations.
Ugandans especially those from minority groups need this office to remain open because the state of human rights still remains dire!
Source: Kuchi Times