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Universal Periodic Review Working Group – 12th Session
Universal Period Review of Uganda
Statement by Australia
11 October 2011
Australia welcomes the delegation from Uganda and appreciates its engagement in the Universal Periodic Review process.
Australia commends Uganda for its incorporation of the Rome State of the International Criminal Court (ICC) into domestic law, which came into effect in 2011.
Australia also commends Uganda for the introduction of the Domestic Violence Act criminalising domestic violence and Uganda’s ratification of the Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of Women in Africa. The Act will provide a basis for greater action against the widespread violence against women and girls, including sexual offences and other forms of sexual and gender-based violence in Uganda.
Australia is concerned about ongoing discrimination, harassment and prejudice directed against persons in Uganda on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. In keeping with Australia’s longstanding advocacy on non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, we urge Uganda to remove criminal penalties for offences on the basis of sexual orientation.
Australia welcomes the successful presidential and parliamentary elections in February 2011, but notes the concerns raised by civil society organisations regarding limitations on freedom of assembly and expression in the lead-up to the elections. Australia urges Uganda, including in its debates on the introduction of new legislation on public order, to ensure provisions are in conformity with international standards.
Australia is also concerned at reports of torture, ill-treatment and illegal detention of suspects by police, law enforcement officials and military personnel, as well as ill-treatment of protesters during demonstrations in April 2011.
Australia recommends Uganda:
1. Remove criminal penalties for offences on the basis of sexual orientation;
2. Accede to the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and incorporate its provisions into domestic law;
3. Strengthen efforts to fulfil its obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, including by full implementation of the Domestic Violence Act; and
4. Ratify the Second Optional Protocol on Civil and Political Rights on the abolition of the death penalty.