KAMPALA – The Head of the European Union (UN) delegation to Uganda, Ambassador Attilio Pacifici, has challenged government to present evidence showing that foreign powers are supporting opposition protests.
“It is not right to say that we are supporting subversive activities, and that is why we are here to know what we are doing wrong,” he said at a public discussion on the contribution of EU to human rights in Uganda at Kampala Serena Hotel on Monday.
“In fact, we want to hear critiques more than anything else because we want to improve the work that we do with Uganda,” he added.
On the backdrop of international criticism about the brutal arrest and subsequent torture of MPs Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine (Kyadondo East), Francis Zaake and a host of other residents following the Arua Municipality by-election on August 13, several government officials accused the EU and US of funding protests in Uganda to overthrow the ruling government.
However, Mr Pacifici insisted that the EU is Uganda’s development partner and the evidence is there for all to see.
He instead urged the government to address the growing cases of rights violations in the country.
“Cases of police brutality, gender-based violence, child abuse, discrimination of minority groups, political and press freedom, are among the human rights challenges faced in Uganda,” said Mr Pacifici.
He urged the government to address issues of freedom of assembly, freedom of association, freedom of expression and press freedom; accountability and anti-corruption; children’s rights as well as women’s rights and gender equality.
“The Ugandan constitution also stipulates non-discrimination and equality for all citizens, with specific provisions to ensure the rights of women, people with disabilities and children,” he said.
Chief Justice Bart Katureebe acknowledged that Justice Law and Sector is experiencing challenges of human rights violations.
“I think we will need a national debate as to the priorities of the country where JLOS will be among the priorities after which we shall embark on teaching human rights and their importance,” said Justice Katureebe.
Mr David Mafabi, the President’s Political Affairs private secretary, admitted that human rights violations are still being carried in the country due to Uganda’s troubled past.
Former Ethics minister Miriam Matembe said that Uganda was facing a democratic reversal due to selfishness by the current President.