East Africa’s regional Bar Association, the East African Law Society (EALS) has condemned the continued human rights violations of the Ugandan government ahead of this month’s general elections. The society states that its members have observed and noted over the last few days, the growing reports on the worsening state of human rights and rule of law within the country.
EALS says it is collating evidence that will enable investigations into human rights violations and the state of rule of law in Uganda ahead of the 2021 polls.
In a statement dated 31st December issued by Bernard Oundo, the President EALS said that they are monitoring the situation in Uganda and collecting crucial evidence that will enable them to institute actions against the human rights violators.
Oundo stated that EALS has: “…set up an ad hoc Rule of Law Committee comprising of highly experienced lawyers from across the region to provide technical services for purposes of collecting and preserving relevant evidence and to prepare watertight cases against the violators.
“By this statement, we call upon our members across Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, and South Sudan to voice their solidarity with the Uganda Law Society and the general public in the Republic of Uganda”.
Some of the concerns include documented and unreported cases of wanton killing, partisan policing, freezing of accounts of several pro-democracy advocates and repression of Civil liberties organisations involved in civic engagements, illegal detention of human rights defenders and Opposition figures among others.
“These obligations are also available under the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights. Even more compelling, the reported violations constitute acts of crimes against humanity under Article 7 of the Statute of the International Criminal Court. It is disturbing that many stakeholders have attributed these violations to government security agents and officers in government service.” the statement reads.
The body urged the President, the Attorney General, security operatives and government officials to take steps to forestall further human rights violations.
The statement further said the President, together with his entire executive cabinet, heads of the police, the military top brass must act responsibly to forestall further human rights violations.
Oundo says that the National Bar members comprising of the Burundi Bar Association, the Law Society of Kenya, Tanganyika Law Society, Rwanda Bar Association, Uganda Law Society, Zanzibar Law Society, the South Sudan Bar Association and other partners across East Africa and globally will keep a close watch on the situation.