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Falana takes Uganda President to UN court

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LAGOS-BASED lawyer and human rights activist, Femi Falana, has lodged a complaint at the United Nations (UN) urging its working group on arbitrary detention, special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions to investigate President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda for grave human rights violations allegedly going on in the country.

Falana made the complaint in a statement released yesterday, urging UN to urgently investigate reports of clampdown on the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, association, media freedom and human dignity in Uganda.

“I am seriously concerned that the Ugandan authorities continue to arbitrarily arrest, detain and brutally beat, torture and humiliate critics, journalists, human rights defenders, activists, lawyers and opposition leaders and supporters. There are also several cases of unlawful killings during arrests.

The authorities hardly investigate allegations of human rights violations and abuses. I urge you to closely monitor and scrutinise the human rights situation in Uganda and to take a more decisive role in combating years of impunity for human rights violations and abuses and erosion of the rule of law, as well as the violation of general principles of justice in that country.

“I strongly believe that ending impunity and achieving justice in Uganda is central to promoting and ensuring full respect for all human rights.

The government continues to deploy a range of tactics to stifle critical reporting, from occasional physical violence to threats, intimidation, bureaucratic interference, and arrest. Station managers of television and radio outfits and journalists often face reprisals if their programmes are deemed critical of the authorities.

Ugandan laws such as the 2013 regressive Public Order Management Act, which grants police wide discretionary powers to permit or disallow gatherings continue to be used to ban protests and opposition rallies, arrest opposition members and commit other atrocities. Cases of prolonged illegal detention, torture and well-documented killings during protests, by security forces, remain unaddressed,” the statement reads.

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