UN experts urge Uganda to repeal new public assembly restrictions Samuel Franklin at 3:21 PM ET
[JURIST] Independent UN experts on Friday called for the repeal of recently passed legislation in Uganda limiting the size of public demonstrations. Known as the Public Order Management Bill, passed on Tuesday [JURIST report], Uganda now prohibits protests [UN press release] of more than three people without prior police authorization. Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Margaret Sekaggya [official website], expressed her disapproval of the law, claiming its purpose is directly aimed at suppressing the freedom of assembly. The UN has asked Uganda to reform its legal code to conform with international human rights obligations. In addition to the public assembly restrictions, the law also permits security forces to use weapons when patrolling public events [UPI report].
Uganda [JURIST news archive] has drawn much international criticism in recent years regarding alleged human rights violations and treatment of those who are deemed to be government opposition. In August of last year Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] reported [JURIST report] that the government of Uganda was harassing and intimidating rights groups and other non-government organizations (NGOs). Earlier in June Uganda's government banned 38 NGOs accused of promoting gay rights [JURIST report]. Also in June UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official profile] warned [JURIST report] that the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) opposition group still poses a threat to children in Uganda. In May 2011 UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] urged [JURIST report] Uganda's government to stop using what she called excessive force against protesters in the country.
Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible, ad-free format.