Ugandan Government Lip Service on Repressive Legislation Report

What is your opinion on this report and how do you think the Ugandan Government should handle it?

By Melanie Nathan, October 24, 2014.

On October 16, we reported that Amnesty International concluded a report on repressive and discriminatory legislation enacted over the last 18 months in Uganda that has led to increasing state repression, violence, homophobic and gender-based discrimination. The following day Amnesty International hand delivered the report to the new Ugandan Prime Minister, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda.  Prime Minister Rugunda assured Amnesty International, a global human rights watchdog group, that the government will review issues that the organization raised in this report.

Sarah jackson, Amnesty InternationalIssues will be looked into, the government will examine the Report,” Dr Rugunda told Amnesty’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, Sarah Jackson. The meeting was at his office on Friday, during which she gave him copies of the latest Report.

The report was launched at Serena Hotel in Kampala on the previous day. During the meeting with Prime Minister Rugunda, Jackson called for a review of the Public Order Management Act, the Anti-Pornography Act and the Anti-Homosexuality Act.

According to Jackson, the laws should be reviewed to prevent what she called violation of freedoms of assembly and of expression, accusing the legal framework of failure to recognize the basic inalienable rights of individuals.

Lokodo UgandaIndividual subjects were interviewed by Amnesty International in Kampala for the Amnesty Report.

For as long as these enactments of Parliament provide political mobilizing tools, such as the Anti-Homosexuality Act did, one wonders whether the Ugandan Government really will do anything to change that which has already been enacted.  Is all this reporting provide opportunities for mere lip service? Does one honestly think that the Ugandan Government would ever admit that these laws violate human rights, the Constitution or treatise, when these repressive enactments serve to keep their dictator in power?  Are reports like this perceived as Western meddling in the sovereignty of Uganda. Are reports like this fuel to tout Neo-colonialism?  Are they more important as a tool to be used by the international community to justify sanctions? Would that ever happen in earnest? What good is such a report internally in the hands of the newly appointed Prime Minister who is unlikely to do anything to rattle the Museveni ‘popularity cage’ at this point in time.

It has become obvious that all Ugandan Human Rights abuses should be viewed together, holistically, as a pattern has developed, illustrated by the Amnesty report, clearly showing that several repressive legislative Acts have led directly to human rights abuses, showing in essence, state sanctioned abuse by police, government officials and the public at large.

It remains to be seen if the Prime Minister is merely providing lip service, when he asserts he will look into the report. Legislation that impacts human rights negatively has served Uganda’s ruling NRM party well, as well as its President Yoweri Museveni.

The attitude of the Government can be seen from Minister of Ethics and Integrity Simon Lokodo’s remarks in the NTV video below, where he asserts that these repressive laws are necessary “in order to maintain order.” Of course this would be the case where a dictatorial regime has 30 years of dictatorship to protect. These laws have served to severely curb public freedoms to include expressions of dissatisfaction with government: THE REPORT HERE.

Screen Shot 2014-10-24 at 10.09.01 AM

THANK YOU @Amnesty

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