KAMPALA – The government has attacked the European Parliament over it’s response to the human rights situation in the country and accused it of meddling into the affairs of a sovereign country.
On Thursday, September 13th, the European Parliament accused Uganda of continued violation of human rights during and after the Arua municipality by-elections.
The European Parliament also asked Uganda drop what they described as trumped up charges against Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine and all other suspects implicated in the Arua chaos.
“The EU parliament expresses its deep concern at the arrest of opposition parliamentarians in connection with the Arua by‑election; Stresses that it is vital for Ugandan democracy that the President and Government of Uganda respect the independence of the country’s Parliament as an institution and the independence of the mandate of its members and ensure that all members of parliament can freely pursue their elected mandates and 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,” part of the resolution reads.
However, acting Information Minister Chris Baryomunsi on Friday said Uganda is a sovereign nation and will not allow anyone to meddle into its internal affairs.
“That is colonial mentality. No one tells us what to do. We have systems and structures that handle and resolve our internal matters as a country. Uganda is a sovereign state,” said Dr Baryomunsi in an interview.
He added: “Besides, what is their basis of labelling the charges trumped up? We have competent courts to deal with these matters. They should not even be discussing these issues because they are before court. If they want to advise us, they come and we talk but not through orders.”
In the Thursday resolution, the EU Parliament urged the Kampala government to immediately launch an independent investigation into the killing of Yasin Kawuma, Bobi Wine’s driver, and the reports of deaths and excessive use of force during the protests.
They also said they expect a swift and independent investigation into the allegations of torture and mistreatment of those arrested in Arua.
They also challenged the Ugandan authorities to create a safe and conducive environment for the journalist to do their work.
“We note with concern that journalists covering the demonstrations and the riots that broke out have been beaten along with participants and that two journalists were arrested and call 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.”
The resolution also reminds the Ugandan authorities of their obligation to guarantee, protect and promote fundamental rights, including the civil and political rights of the country’s citizens, among them freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.
The EU called on the Ugandan security forces to show restraint when policing protests, to desist from using live bullets, to act lawfully and with full respect for human rights law, and to allow journalists to freely carry out their work of information;
The parliament lauded the Uganda Human Rights Commission for closely monitoring the situation in the country to ensure that rights are not violated.
“Commend the work accomplished by the Ugandan Human Rights Commission following the arrests, killings and torture arising from the Arua by‑election, including reporting, visits to detention centres, investigating the whereabouts of missing persons, and interventions to guarantee the rights of prisoners, medical treatment and family visits,” the document says.
It has tasked the vice president of the commission/ High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to closely monitor the situation in Uganda.