April 21, 2015

Today April 21, 2015, Government has learnt of a Press Release by Human Rights Watch titled “Uganda: Bill threatens Rights, Independent Groups”.
Let us be reminded that Uganda already has an NGO Act which is being updated through this amendment. There is no evidence so far that NGOs, CBOs & CSOs have been unfairly or unjustly dissolved or their activities interfered with except where some have cheated the public.
Uganda needs the law revised and strengthened to protect the public especially because of the changing times of criminality. Some NGOs have been found to be involved in extortion of money from the public, financial fraud, money laundering and human trafficking especially of vulnerable children.
Apart from the criticism from HRW, government would appreciate helpful comments to improve the Bill.
Let Human Rights Watch write specific proposals either to the minister before the Bill is taken to the committee of parliament.  NGOs including HRW should not pretend to be the only guarantors of the rights of Ugandans.
That responsibility and obligations rests with the government of Uganda.  NGOs do not enjoy diplomatic immunity, and thus are subject to written down rules and regulations.

Ofwono Opondo
Executive Director