On February 18, Ugandans will go to the polls to vote in presidential and parliamentary elections, in what is President Museveni’s 30th year in office. Uganda’s human rights situation poses serious risks for free and fair elections and the ability of Ugandans to freely exercise fundamental human rights.
Previous elections in 2001, 2006, and 2011 were marred by allegations of vote rigging, violence, intimidation and violations of free assembly, expression and association. Over the years, Human Rights Watch has documented some of the impediments to genuinely free and fair elections – threats and violations of basic rights, the impact of “no-party democracy” and the removal of term limits from the constitution in 2005.
Security forces’ lethal response to demonstrations and protests, including in 2011 and 2009, and threats to the media, including forced closure of media outlets, remain critical issues of concern for elections. Fear of reprisals deters people from freely expressing criticism of the government. Human Rights Watch has documented killings during public demonstrations and a lack of investigations into these deaths.
On this page you will find Human Rights Watch work on human rights violations in Uganda from the past 20 years that affect the electoral environment, whether on polling day or in the crucial periods before and after the actual polls.