The UN human rights office in Uganda has closed and ended its operations after the government there refused to renew a deal for it to continue.
Effective Sunday, the office will no longer operate in Uganda, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk said on Friday, affirming that he “remains committed” to working in the country, in line with his global mandate.
The closure of the office in Kampala follows the recent closure of sub-offices in Gulu and Moroto sub-offices.
Uganda’s government last Friday terminated the mandate of the High Commissioner’s Office, OHCHR.
The move was condemned by several NGOs and human rights defenders who called for its reversal.
“I regret that our office in Uganda had to close after 18 years, during which we were able to work closely with civil society, people from various walks of life in Uganda, as well as engaging with State institutions for the promotion and protection of the human rights of all Ugandans,” Volker Türk said in a news release.
“On our part, the UN human rights office remains committed to working on human rights in Uganda, in line with my global mandate,” he added.
Türk said the integration of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in national planning, and the adoption of a national action plan on business and human rights were among some progress made in the country.
“Much progress has been made in the country over the years, but serious human rights challenges remain in the path to full enjoyment of human rights for all,” he said.
OHCHR’s Uganda office was established in July 2005 with offices in Gulu, Kitgum, Kotido, Lira, Pader, Soroti, and the head office in Kampala.
Its initial mandate focused on the human rights situation in the conflict-affected areas of Northern and Northeastern Uganda.
In 2009, the mandate was extended to cover the entire country and all human rights issues.
The OHCHR office in Uganda was among the largest stand-alone UN human rights presences in Africa.