UGANDA: freedom of expression abuse
Brussels 21.01.2021 The European Union is calling for Ugandan officials to lift bans on social media networks imposed in the context of the highly disputed elections. Previously the EU condemned the action by the government to shut down internet which had violated the Ugandan citizens and observers right to expression and information.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni announced that the government had shut down social media. On January 9, Facebook deleted dozens of pro-Ugandan government accounts, saying they were “fake.” Museveni characterized Facebook’s action as arrogant. (Image: spokesperson of the European Commission).
Uganda: Declaration by the High Representative Josep Borrell on behalf of the European Union on the elections
The European Union (EU) takes note of the results of the presidential elections declared by the Electoral Commission in Uganda:
“The EU welcomes that no major violent incidents were reported on election day but regrets that the disproportionate role given to security forces during the elections brought forth violence in the pre-electoral period, harassment of opposition leaders, suppression of civil society actors and media, and the raiding of a domestic observers office. Access to social media was disturbed, and a full internet blackout disrupted freedom of expression, freedom of information, and regular economic and social activities. In particular, this severely hampered the work of journalists, observers, party agents and others expected to report on the polling results and scrutinise them.
The EU calls on the Government of Uganda to respect the freedom of expression and the right to peaceful and safe assembly, including the free movement of all political actors and their supporters. The EU is gravely concerned by the continued harassment of political actors and parts of civil society. In line with its laws, international commitments and obligations, the Government must ensure that security services act with restraint, that any violations or abuses are duly and impartially investigated, and that those responsible are held to account.
Pending the final results of the electoral process including the parliamentary and local elections, the EU calls on all parties to refrain from any form of violence as well as from statements and actions that may incite violence, and for election challenges and complaints to be addressed in an independent and transparent manner through the available constitutional and legal remedies”.