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Wednesday, March 09, 2016
Uganda - Tightening controls on NGOs
Two weeks after controversially winning a fifth term, Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has signed another repressive law which restricts the operations of thousands of NGOs working in the country.
Adrian Juuko, executive director of Ugandan NGO Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HRAPF), said activists were worried about provisions that will prohibit an estimated 11,000 NGOs from doing anything that is against “the interests of Uganda” and the “dignity of Ugandans”.
Nicholas Opiyo, executive director of Ugandan civil liberties group Chapter Four said the law promotes “the erroneous view of the sector as a security threat rather than a development sector”, adding under it NGOs required a state-issued permit.
“The use of the term ‘dignity’ threatens organisations working on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) issues,” Juuko told IPS, stressing this clause could suggest that Uganda “would rather maintain its dignity than accept homosexuality”. He said the passage of the legislation “may be another way of reintroducing the nullified Anti-Homosexuality Act as it would equally affect organisations providing services to LGBTI persons or advocating for decriminalisation of same sex relations.”
“Passage of this flawed bill into law could not come at a worse time,” Asia Russell, executive director of Health Global Access Project explained, adding that “Government threats, harassment and intimidation against Ugandan civil society, media, and the opposition is intensifying. In the immediate aftermath of widely criticised elections, President Museveni is throwing fuel on the fire.”