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UN expresses concern over deteriorating human rights situation in Uganda ahead of polls

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Moses Kuwema 

The UN has expressed deep concern over the deteriorating human rights situation in Uganda ahead of the parliamentary and presidential elections scheduled for January 14. 

Speaking to reporters Friday, Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General, said between November 18 and 20, at least 54 people were killed during riots and protests in at least seven districts across the country over the arrest and detention of two opposition presidential candidates and members of the political opposition. 

Dujarric said the UN Human Rights Office called on authorities to protect the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, and to ensure a free and peaceful election that guarantees the right of the people of Uganda to participate in their country’s public affairs, including by taking measures to prevent instances of electoral violence. 

In the Central African Republic, Dujarric said according to the UNHCR, the violence and insecurity surrounding the elections in that country forced over 30,000 people to flee into neighbouring Cameroon from the CAR.  

The UNHCR said the people also fled into Chad, the DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo), as well as the Republic of Congo. 

Dujarric said most of them — that’s over 24,000 people — have crossed the Ubangui River into the DRC’s provinces of Bas Uele and North-Ubangui. 

"Obviously, UNHCR remains concerned about reports of human rights violations taking place inside the country and urges governments in all neighbouring countries to continue granting access to asylum and supporting local authorities by registering new arrivals," Dujarric said. 

And Dujarric said the three-day period to appeal provisional results of the presidential elections to the Constitutional Court in the Central African Republic, ended yesterday, according to the UN Mission.

He said the Constitutional Court reportedly has until January 19, to examine the appeals and proclaim the election’s final results. 

"The Mission continues its work to protect civilians and is deploying reinforcements to its Temporary Operating Base located in the town of Grimari, in the Ouaka Prefecture.  

"This is happening as a coalition of armed groups, which includes UPC and Anti-Balaka, are continuing their attacks on Central African armed forces positions," Dujarric said. 

"Yesterday, in this area, some national security forces personnel as well as civilians have sought shelter at UN premises. 

On Thursday January 7, 2021, in Bouar, peacekeepers and soldiers from the Central African Forces exchanged fire with armed elements prompting the displacement of hundreds of civilians. 

UN peacekeepers are continuing robust patrols in Bouar and other areas of deployment.

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