Uganda: Politics and Government

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office written question – answered on 18th May 2021.

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Photo of Alex Norris Alex Norris Shadow Minister (Health and Social Care)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has been made of the political and humanitarian situation in Uganda, including the ongoing harassment of opposition figures; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of James Duddridge James Duddridge Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

The UK Government has been worried about the treatment of opposition candidates and their supporters in the run-up to and since the Ugandan elections. The current situation does not provide for an open political landscape within which democracy can flourish and Uganda can prosper. We have repeatedly raised concerns about the treatment of opposition candidates and their supporters during and after the election period in Uganda.

Our High Commissioner in Kampala has discussed concerns about reports of opposition supporters going missing or being arbitrarily detained with the Uganda government. I also raised this in my call with the Ugandan Foreign Minister, Sam Kutsea, on 21 April. Our High Commission in Kampala will continue to monitor this closely, and will engage the Ugandan authorities on the fair treatment of opposition leaders and supporters. Political freedoms are vital for democracy to prevail. The UK Government supports programmes for civil society groups and organisations in Uganda that promote democracy, robust institutions, and transparent elections.

The UK provides humanitarian support to refugees and their host communities in Uganda, with an emphasis on the provision of food assistance and nutrition, strengthening community resilience, and building the foundation for self-reliance. With more than 1.4 million refugees, Uganda is the largest refugee hosting country in Africa. More than 80% are women and children. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and the closure of Uganda's borders to refugees, there were often more than 5,000 refugees per month entering Uganda. More than 40,000 children per year are born in the refugee settlements.

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