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International experts detained, deported and threatened for supporting national NGOs engaged in election activities

In the run-up to national elections, international experts supporting democracy and election initiatives have forced to leave the country due to their work with national civil society organizations engaged in Uganda’s elections.

For example, Simon Osborn, Advisor to the European Union on Elections in Uganda was detained and deported on 31 October 2020.

Mr. Osborn was met at his apartment by the authorities and taken to the airport where he was deported. He has in the past worked as the Country Director of the National Democratic Institute (NDI), a US democracy assistance organisation in Uganda whose board chairperson is the former US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright.

In addition, Marco Deswart, an official working with the Democratic Governance Facility (DGF), a multi-donor facility established by eight EU countries was not allowed to return to Uganda after he had travelled for summer holidays in the Netherlands. Mr Deswart was heading an elections programme at DGF.

election

Moreover, international organization the International Republican Institute (IRI) has been warned by the authorities about their activities. IRI is an American non-profit, nonpartisan organisation committed to advancing freedom and democracy worldwide by helping political parties to become more issue-based. Amongst other arbitrary requirements, IRI has been asked to submit details of its work in the country and IRI’s Country Director Lara Petrivevic has allegedly been placed on the ‘wanted list.’

These targeted actions emerge following accusations that international organizations are supporting ‘subversive activities’ against the current ruling party.

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