PRESIDENT MUSEVENI DEFENDS MOVE TO SHUN UN RIGHTS OFFICE
By UG Reports
KAMPALA: Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has defended his government’s decision to terminate the operations of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in the country.
He was responding to a journalist questioning Uganda’s decision to close OHCHR operations, during a press conference at the Uganda-South Africa investment forum in Pretoria on Wednesday.
“This is because we have Ugandan Human Rights Commission which is mandated by the constitution. So having others which are not part of our constitution system is first of all unnecessary, but also diversionary,” Mr Museveni said during conference aired by South Africa’s state-run television SABC.
“Instead of going to report to where action can be taken, they go to the UN. What can UN do in Uganda? They don’t have the powers of enforcement,” he added
On 3 February, Uganda’s foreign ministry announced that the government would not renew the mandate of the OCHCR, which was set to expire at the end of March.
In a letter to the OHCHR head office, the ministry stated that Uganda had developed the capacity to monitor, promote and protect human rights without external support.
Rights activists and campaigners have condemned Uganda’s decision to shut down the UN office, describing it as “shameful”.
Critics view the move as a reflection of the government’s response to the increasing scrutiny over abuses such as torture, forced disappearances, abductions, detentions without trial and re-arrests of persons legally released by the courts.