Uganda says it won't renew UN Human Rights Office

Uganda says it won't renew UN Human Rights Office

On November 19th, 2020, street traders sell mangos and other fruit before being told by security forces to pack up and leave on a street in Kampala, Uganda. The development of its own capacity to monitor rights compliance is cited by the PHOTO AP KAMPALA -- Uganda has said it will not renew the mandate of the United Nations' human rights office in the East African country.

In a letter sent by Uganda's Foreign Affairs Ministry to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on February 3 and seen by Reuters on Wednesday, the ministry noted progress made by Uganda's Foreign Affairs Ministry in developing a domestic capacity to monitor rights as the main reason for its decision.

The ministry has confirmed that the letter, which was confirmed by the ministry as authentic, will convey the government's decision not to renew the mandate of the OHCHR Country office in Uganda beyond the current term.

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OHCHR Uganda country office spokeswoman Bernard Amwine told Reuters he had no comment.

President Yoweri Museveni's government has been criticized by the opposition, human rights activists and Western countries for various rights violations including torture, illegal detentions and extrajudicial killings of opponents and critics.

Most security forces implicated in rights abuses have been duly punished, according to officials, who denied almost all of the accusations.

Museveni, 78, who came to power after a five-year guerrilla war, ruled Uganda since 1986 and the opposition and critics accuse him of grooming his son, a general in the country's military, to take over from him. Museveni has denied doing so repeatedly.

The Uganda government said in 2006 that the Uganda office of the OHCHR Uganda was established and was initially allowed to focus only on human rights issues in conflict-plagued areas in Uganda's north and northeast. It was later allowed to cover the rest of the country.

The ministry said in the letter that the government had gained enough commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights and that there was peace throughout the country, along with strong national human rights institutions and a vibrant civil society. ALSO READ: At least nine killed in the New Year stampede in Uganda

Museveni is expected to win a second term in Uganda in 2026, although he has not indicated if he will stand.