Uganda restricts public demonstrations

Aug. 9, 2013 at 11:44 AM
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GENEVA, Switzerland, Aug. 9 (UPI) -- A law passed in Uganda restricting demonstrations is meant to frighten constituents into submission, a panel of human rights experts said.

The Ugandan government passed legislation Tuesday prohibiting protests of more than three people without police approval. Security forces are permitted to use weapons when patrolling public events and the law requires organizers to provide a list of all slated attendees.

"Police intimidation has no place in a free, open and democratic society," said Margaret Sekaggya, U.N. envoy on the situation of human rights defenders.

Maina Kiai, a U.N. special envoy on the right to assemble, said he was concerned by the vague wording of the legislation.

"Several provisions of the law constitute an undue restriction on the ability for individuals to take part in public assembly," he said in a statement Friday. "The requirement to list the names of all participants serves only to frighten people from expressing their right to peaceful assembly."

Last month, the Ugandan government said it would start monitoring Internet activity to protect the public from emerging national security issues.

The United Nations in June expressed concern about press freedom in Uganda.

Ugandan authorities closed a major newspaper temporarily in May after it published a feature alleging orders were given to kill anyone who stated opposition to Muhoozi Kainerugaba, son of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.

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