Global Policy Forum

Govt Blocks Report On North At UN Assembly


By Agnes Asiimwe

Daily Monitor - Kampala
October 11, 2007

Uganda has blocked a move by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to include on the Agenda of the UN General Assembly a report on the human rights situation in northern Uganda. Uganda's Permanent Representative to the UN, Mr Francis Butagira, successfully put up a fight that resulted in leaving the report out of the Agenda. He said adopting the report would amount to, "political interference in Uganda's internal affairs." The report was presented by Louise Arbour, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. "We believe the high commissioner has no mandate to ambush member states on such sensitive issues even if she was authorised," Mr Butagira told the 3rd Committee of the General Assembly on Monday. "We are surprised because Uganda has cooperated with her office."

In August, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released a report accusing the UPDF of human rights violations and the use of excessive force while disarming the Karimojong. "She should have shared it with the Ugandan government if her aim was to promote human rights," Mr Butagira later told Daily Monitor in an interview. Mr Butagira said the latest report, which he is yet to read, was in bad taste, especially at a time when the north is enjoying peace and residents are leaving the IDP camps for their homes. "The report may poison the progress so far achieved in the Juba Peace Talks," Mr Butagira said. He added that the report could be the work of politicians "fighting the regime and working to tarnish the image of the country."

Uganda's top diplomat at the UN said the government has been constantly demonised over issues of the north. "Behind it all was this fellow called Olara Otunnu, but we fought off that agenda," he said. Mr Olara Otunnu, a former UN Under-Secretary General and Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, served as Uganda's permanent representative to the UN from 1980 to 1985.

A few years ago, he referred to the LRA war in northern Uganda as a genocide. When the matter was put to vote at the end of the debate that lasted four hours, those in favour not including the report on the Agenda were 76 against 54 while 20 members abstained. Uganda was supported by China, the African Group, majority of who were members of the defunct Non-Aligned Movement and the Group of 77 countries.

The OHCHR declined to comment on the issue.

More Information on International Justice
More Information on ICC Investigations in Uganda
More Information on Joseph Kony
More Information on ICC Investigations
More Information on Uganda


FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Global Policy Forum distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.