Intimidation and repression in Uganda
The Castan Centre for Human Rights Law, and Human Rights Watch present:
Nicholas Opiyo, human rights lawyer and founder of the human rights organisation Chapter Four Uganda
Maria Burnett, senior researcher of the African Division of Human Rights Watch
Tuesday, 19 April 2016
Held at Monash University Law Chambers, Seminar Room 3, Level 2, 555 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
Uganda's February elections saw President Yoweri Museveni win his fifth term as president, extending an uninterrupted 30-year stint in office. Worsening restrictions on freedom of speech and assembly in the lead up to the elections cast serious doubt over whether they were conducted in a free and fair manner.
Patterns of repression, particularly the harassment and intimidation of journalists, activists and opposition candidates have long marred the electoral process and have continued following the election.
Discrimination against LGBT people has also taken centre stage. Despite the overturning of Uganda's draconian anti-homosexuality law in 2014, the government continues to punish and silence the LGBT community through the use of repressive laws.
Join Ugandan human rights lawyer Nicholas Opiyo and Human Rights Watch Senior Africa Researcher Maria Burnett as they examine Uganda's failure to make progress on human rights issues, and what can be done to ensure its citizens can freely exercise fundamental human rights.
Nicholas Opiyo, a leading human rights lawyer and founder of the human rights organization Chapter Four Uganda, has worked tirelessly since 2005 to defend civil liberties in Uganda, often for free and on behalf of society's most vulnerable and marginalized. Opiyo has worked on a broad range of critical human rights issues in Uganda, and was a key leader in drafting and advocating for Uganda's law criminalizing torture. He has successfully argued several high-level constitutional challenges, including to the notorious Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2013, which was declared null and void in August 2014.
Maria Burnett, senior researcher in the Africa Division of Human Rights Watch, currently covers Uganda, emerging human rights issues in Central Africa, and supervises work on Somalia and Kenya. She has worked with the organization since 2005, first as the Burundi researcher in the Bujumbura field office. Burnett has worked on a range of human rights issues, including child soldiers, torture and killings by intelligence and counterterrorism agents, abuses by the Lord's Resistance Army, and justice reform in Central and East Africa. Before joining Human Rights Watch, Burnett worked as an architect and journalist in Africa. Burnett holds a law degree from Yale Law School and a bachelor's in architecture from Princeton University. She speaks French.