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Uganda: Risk of Violence as Election Approaches

Uganda: Risk of Violence as Election Approaches

Political Leaders Must Call for Calm; Electoral Commission Must Be Impartial

(Kampala) – All Ugandan political parties must call on their supporters to refrain from violence in the tense buildup to the country’s first multi-party elections in 26 years, Human Rights Watch said today.

Human Rights Watch also called on the Electoral Commission to perform its duties impartially and transparently. Presidential and parliamentary elections will be held on Thursday, February 23.

“Tension among voters is high and pre-election violence has been on the increase. The political parties have a duty to prevent further violence,” said Jemera Rone, East Africa coordinator at Human Rights Watch. “The Electoral Commission’s neutrality and transparency on election day will be key.”

Human Rights Watch recommends:

· Political leaders should call on their followers to respect election regulations and refrain from violence;

· The government should ensure that the police, army and other authorities respect the electoral process and not use excessive force in response to
volatile situations;

· Political leaders must avoid making inflammatory or inciting statements;

· Political leaders should turn to the Electoral Commission and the courts to resolve election disputes instead of resorting to violence; and

· Political parties, including the ruling party, should not attempt to improperly influence the Electoral Commission or the courts, such as by meeting with these bodies without the presence of the other parties.

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