24 March 2019

East Africa: US Slams EAC's Human Rights Record

The United States has criticised the EAC's human-rights record, accusing the member states of violations last year.

The Department of State's human rights country reports, released separately on March 13, cited violations in individual, civil, and political rights.

These included arbitrary civilian detentions and killings by state security forces, restrictions on political participation, interference with the rights of peaceful assembly, and freedom of association, censorship, and intimidation of journalists and civil society organisations, including those working to uphold LGBTI rights.

The latest report says that while "in some cases" the Tanzanian government took steps to investigate and prosecute officials who committed human rights abuses, "impunity in the police and other security forces and civilian branches of government was widespread."

On Rwanda, it says the government "occasionally took steps to prosecute or punish officials who committed abuses, including within the security services, but impunity involving civilian officials and some members of the state security forces was a problem."

For Kenya, the conclusion was that impunity at all levels of government continued to be a serious problem, while in Uganda the government was reportedly "reluctant to investigate, prosecute, or punish officials who committed human-rights violations," and that impunity was a problem.

For Burundi, the "reluctance of police and public prosecutors to investigate and prosecute, and of judges to hear cases of government corruption and human-rights abuse in a timely manner, resulted in widespread impunity."

The State Department said that South Sudan civilian authorities routinely failed to maintain effective control over state security forces last year.

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