The United Nations human rights office in Uganda will close this weekend after Uganda decided not to renew its contract allowing it to operate.
Volker Türk, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, announced the closure of the offices in Kampala. The offices will officially cease operations on Saturday, August 5, 2023. Sub-offices in Gulu and Moroto closed on June 30 and July 31, 2023, respectively.
“I regret that our office in Uganda had to close after 18 years, during which we were able to work closely with civil society, people from various walks of life in Uganda, as well as engage with State institutions for the promotion and protection of the human rights of all Ugandans,” said Türk.
The UN Human Rights Office in Uganda has been working with the government and other partners on a range of human rights issues since 2005. This includes working to integrate Sustainable Development Goals into national planning frameworks, advising on bringing domestic legislation into compliance with international human rights laws and standards, and supporting the Ministry of Gender, Labour, and Social Development in developing a National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights. In 2021, Uganda became the second country in Africa to adopt this plan.
“Much progress has been made in the country over the years, but serious human rights challenges remain on the path to full enjoyment of human rights for all,” the High Commissioner said.
“The Uganda Human Rights Commission, our long-standing partner in the protection and promotion of human rights in the country, is persistently underfunded and understaffed, and reports of political interference in its mandate undermine its legitimacy, independence, and impartiality,” he claimed.
He further implored the Ugandan government to give the Commission more human, technical, and financial resources so that it can carry out its task more successfully.
According to the UN Human Rights Office, it remains committed to working on human rights in Uganda in accordance with the worldwide mandate.