Uganda - Museveni’s swearing in amid crackdown on the opposition and human rights violations

Press release

On the occasion of the swearing in of Mr. Yoweri Museveni, FIDH and its member organisation, the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI), call upon the newly reelected president of Uganda to fully respect the Constitutional and the international human rights provisions by putting an end immediately to the harsh repression against oppositions leaders and supporters and peaceful demonstrators calling for the respect of economic and social rights.

In April 2011, following the call of the group “Action for Change”, several demonstrations took place throughout Uganda mainly to protest against the rising levels of inflation in the country. The violent repression, by police and security forces of the demonstrations organised on April 14, 21 and 29, have resulted in the death of at least 9 persons and left about 100 injured. This crackdown has also been marked by the arbitrary arrests of several demonstrators, including, on April 28, of the opposition leader, Dr. Kizza Besigye, President of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), who has since been released.

This excessive and disproportionate use of violence by the police and security forces and the impunity enjoyed so far by those responsible raise serious concerns about the new reelected authorities’ commitment to put an end to human rights abuses. “While he will be officially sworn in today, the Ugandan president should make firm commitments regarding the respect for the Rule of Law. Mr. Museveni should publicly declare his readiness to fight against impunity, including when the human rights abuses have been perpetrated by state agents" declared Souhayr Belhassen, FIDH President.

While freedom of expression and assembly should be exercised without fear from police brutality, these rights have been constantly jeopardized in the recent days with several journalists being prevented from covering the demonstrations and many of them being wounded by security agents. FIDH and FHRI also call on the newly reelected authorities to take all necessary measures to guarantee civil and political rights as enshrined in the Ugandan Constitution and the regional and international human rights instruments to which Uganda is a state party.

“The rights enshrined in the Constitution impose a duty on the government to promote, protect and respect the rights of all the people in Uganda and to safeguard their wellbeing” declared Sheila Muwanga, FHRI Deputy Director. “The Ugandan authorities should ensure that all criminal cases are dully investigated and prosecuted so as to eliminate impunity in our country and deter human rights abuses by state and non-state actors” she added.

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