In Sharp Rebuke, U.S. Warns Museveni 'Stability' Doesn't Trump Human Rights and Freedom of Expression

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Responding to inquiries from The Black Star News about the U.S. position on the latest round of political repression and violence against opposition supporters and civil activist unleashed by Gen. Yoweri Museveni's regime, the State Department issued a statement sharply rebuking the regime and saying rights abusers be brought to book.

The statement called on the regime to respect the constitutional rights guaranteed to Ugandans.

"As Ambassador Deborah Malac has said, the United States continues to call on the Government of Uganda to protect and preserve the basic freedoms of citizens. These rights are guaranteed in Uganda’s laws and constitution, and the Government should not sacrifice these rights in the name of stability," the statement, released this evening, reads.

"The ban on media coverage of FDC activities violates not just the rights of journalists, but also the rights of Uganda’s citizens. The free flow of information is critical to creating a vibrant democracy, and that requires having a free press. We again urge the Government of Uganda to uphold its international obligations to promote and protect the freedom of expression, to cease its harassment and intimidation of the media and members of the opposition, and to hold accountable those who have committed such acts."

"We encourage all who wish to express their views on Uganda’s recent elections and the forthcoming inauguration to do so peacefully and urge the government to respect its citizens’ right to do so."

Inquiries about whether President Obama plans to send a U.S. Delegation for Gen. Museveni's swearing in and if the Administration considers him to be the country's legitimate leader were referred to the White House.

Additionally, the State Department said the U.S is actively monitoring the situation and referred to earlier statements by spokesperson John Kirby, a telephone call to Museveni by Secretary of State John Kerry, and the speech by U.S. ambassador to Uganda Deborah Malac, which was highly critical of the regime over the conduct of the February election as well as corruption.

Violence against opposition supporters escalated after April 29 when a Supreme Court justice Steven Kavuma issued an ex parte order restraining Ugandans from participating in any acts of defiance --designed to challenge the regime's legitimacy following the sham Feb. 18 elections.

Kavuma's order barred the every-Tuesday national prayers that have been ongoing for two months and banned media from covering acts if defiance. The opposition accused him of being a "cadre" judge, loyal to the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) regime.

More than 100 Ugandans have been arrested, some for praying, including a pastor.

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