The Observer (Kampala)

4 November 2012

Uganda: UN Needs Evidence to Accuse Uganda

The United States Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs - Wendy Sherman has paid a two day visit to Uganda where she met with President ... ( Resource: US Under Secretary of State on Uganda's Peacekeeping Mission

editorial

Uganda has threatened to pull out of regional peace efforts, including armed missions in Somalia and the Central African Republic, following a report by a UN group of experts accusing Kampala of helping the M23 rebels to destabilise eastern DR Congo.

The Uganda government, feeling maligned, and her contribution to regional peace and security not being appreciated, has sent a delegation to the United Nations led by Dr Ruhakana Rugunda to protest this report. A statement issued on Saturday about Rugunda's trip says unless the UN corrects the false accusations, "Uganda's withdrawal from regional peace efforts, including Somalia, CAR, etc. would become inevitable."

According to the same statement, the President of the Security Council, Ambassador H. S. Puri, said that the report is yet to be considered by the sanctions committee concerning the DR Congo, adding that views expressed by the independent experts do not necessarily reflect those of the United Nations. Kampala has often in the past been mean with the truth with regard to regional security matters; so, many Ugandans do not know whether to believe their government or the leaked UN report. Having noted that, it's understandable that Uganda would feel betrayed and aggrieved if the report is indeed false.

Since it is a cardinal principle in law that whoever alleges must prove, the ball is now in the UN's court. The authors of the independent report ought to come forward and substantiate their allegations, providing concrete evidence thereof. In the absence of such evidence, Uganda is justified to be angry and even contemplate withdrawing her support from regional peacekeeping efforts as threatened.

It must also be remembered that the UN has had a presence in eastern DR Congo for many years but the area remains lawless and a potential haven for forces fighting the neighbouring governments. This is a reality the DR Congo government, primarily, and the UN, must confront and address in the interest of durable peace in the Great Lakes region.

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