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Uganda: Human Rights

Volume 482: debated on Wednesday 5 November 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Government of Uganda about human rights abuses by the Lord’s Resistance Army. (228174)

We have repeatedly condemned the actions of the Lord’s Resistance Army and the heinous crimes they have committed.

The Government are actively engaged in dialogue with the Government of Uganda on a range of issues relating to northern Uganda, including human rights. We continue to strongly support efforts to restore peace and stability to the region and are working closely with the Government of Uganda and international partners in efforts to implement the Final Peace Agreement and the Peace, Recovery and Development Plan to ensure that the people of northern Uganda benefit from a sustained peace. The British Government have provided £60 million of humanitarian assistance to northern Uganda since 2006.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the human rights situation in Uganda. (228177)

Although some serious problems persist, including extra-judicial detention and limitations on the freedom of the press and assembly in the approach to the 2006 elections, our overall assessment is that there is continuing progress in Uganda’s human rights performance. The Uganda Human Rights Commission’s 10th Annual Report showed a 14 per cent. reduction in registered complaints in 2007 against the previous year. The UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ last report said that there had been a distinct improvement in the human rights and security situation observed in conflict-affected northern and north-eastern Uganda and that they recognised Government efforts towards strengthening the protection and promotion of human rights. The Ibrahim Index of African Governance also records improvement in Uganda’s human rights situation. There are active civil society organisations working largely unhindered in the human rights field contributing greatly to investigative and accountability efforts.

Our high commission in Kampala closely follows the human rights situation and regularly discusses human rights issues with the Ugandan Government, the Uganda Human Rights Commission and other interested parties. We continue to push for more action on topics such as politically motivated harassment, illegal detention, torture, media freedom and the rights of people in northern Uganda, including in the Karamoja region.