By Bayan Nalubwama and Nathan Mboowa
Uganda has rejected a resolution by the European Parliament that strongly condemned the government’s human rights violations including the torture of six Members of Parliament on August 13, 2018 in Arua municipality.
In a strongly worded resolution, the EU resolution states thus [the EU parliament] “Calls on the Ugandan authorities to drop what appear to be trumped-up charges against Bobi Wine and to stop the crackdown against opposition politicians and supporters;
It goes on to state that [the EU parliament] “Urges the Ugandan authorities to immediately launch an effective, impartial and independent investigation into the killing of Yasin Kawuma, and the reports of deaths and excessive use of force during the protests; expects a swift and independent investigation into the allegations of torture and mistreatment of those arrested in Arua, stresses the need to bring those responsible to justice;
The EU further criticised the government’s treatment of journalists who are abused while covering protests.
The resolution states that the [EU Parliament] “Calls on the EU to take advantage of the political leverage provided by the development aid programmes, especially budget support programmes, with a view to enhancing the defence and promotion of human rights in Uganda,”
“Reiterates its commitment to freedom of expression, and reaffirms the key role played by the media in a democratic society, notes with concern that journalists covering the demonstrations and the riots that broke out have been beaten along with participants, and the journalists were arrested; calls on the Ugandan authorities to create an environment where journalists can carry out without hindrance their work of informing about political developments in the country.
In a four page response to the EU Parliament’s resolution that was authored by the government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo, the government states that: “The Government of Uganda has seen resolution number 2018/2840 titled “Arrest of parliamentarians in opposition in Uganda”, passed on September 13, 2018 in the EU parliament which has been circulated.
The government statement adds that: “Although the government of Uganda has not formally been served, we would like to imagine, that this resolution was passed at the instigation of what we generally believe are several NGOs operating in Europe and funding some of their entities in Uganda which petitioned these MPs.
“We also believe that the traditional lobbyists opposed to Uganda’s choice of values against the sexual orientation taken by some groups in the West along with some new lawyers recruited recently in London and Washington DC, is partly the source of this resolution.”
Opondo labelled the resolution as unfair saying it lacks a formal government response. He also adds that those who forwarded information to the European Union, “Know nothing about the current situation in the country so European Union based on social media rumours and limited knowledge for the resolution.”
Find details of the government response below: