United Nations Human Rights Office Closes Operations in Uganda

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The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), known as the UN Human Rights Office, has ceased all operations in Uganda and exited the country.

The UN Human Rights offices that were closed on Plot 24 Prince Charles Drive – Kololo – Kampala

UN Human Rights office was initially established in Uganda in July 2005 with a primary focus on monitoring and addressing human rights issues in the conflict-affected regions of northern and north-eastern Uganda.

On February 6, 2023, the OHCHR received a note verbale from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, dated February 3, 2023, informing them of the government’s decision not to renew the Host Country Agreement for the office in Uganda. In response to this decision, the UN Human Rights Office announced its closure and stated that it had made the necessary arrangements to conclude its presence in Uganda by August 5, 2023.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is a department of the secretariat of the United Nations that works to promote and protect human rights that are guaranteed under international law and stipulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948. The office was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993.

In February 2020, the mandate for the office was further expanded to include the establishment of a regional human rights training centre in Uganda, to provide training activities on the international human rights system for government officials of interested states in the region, as well as national human rights institutions and civil society organizations.

During a stocktaking meeting with UN human rights partners at Ndere Recreation Centre in Ntinda, Kampala, Ms. Ruth Ssekindi, the director for monitoring and inspections at the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC), represented the commission chairperson, Mariam Wangadya.

The director for monitoring and inspections at the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC), Ms. Ruth Ssekindi attending a meeting with other human rights partners at Ndere Recreation center, Ntinda on Monday 29th May 2023

Ssekindi expressed gratitude for the longstanding partnership and friendship between UHRC and OHCHR, highlighting the latter’s professionalism, dedication, and collegiality over the years. She noted that OHCHR had been invited to Uganda at a critical time when the country was recovering from the effects of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) war, and their collaboration had been invaluable.

The latest development comes on the backdrop of accusations towards government over the deteriorating human rights situation in the country. This was more pronounced in the just concluded January 2021 general elections that saw several members of the opposition abducted, arrested, beaten and other killed during campaigns.

Ssekindi also acknowledged the challenging nature of human rights work, emphasizing that the field has grown increasingly complex, requiring continuous knowledge upgrading. She credited OHCHR for their assistance in enhancing the capacity of UHRC staff in addressing emerging human rights issues.

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Benzo kats
5 months ago


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