The following information reports U.S. Government priorities and activities of the U.S. mission in Uganda to promote democracy and human rights. For background on Uganda's human rights conditions, please see the 2009 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices and the International Religious Freedom Reports at //2009-2017.state.gov.
Part 1: U.S. Government Democracy Objectives
The U.S. Government seeks to strengthen democratic institutions, enhance political competition, reduce corruption, and increase respect for human rights. To advance these goals, the United States continues to support programs to strengthen parliament, create more effective linkages between elected officials and their constituents, improve government service delivery, build anticorruption capacity, and prepare political parties, the electoral system, and voters for the February 2011 presidential and parliamentary elections. U.S. efforts engage a wide spectrum of political and civil society leaders to promote active, responsible, and peaceful participation in democratic and development processes.
Peace and security in the country is also a top U.S. government priority. The United States supports efforts to improve the lives of conflict-affected persons in the north. Respect for human rights by the security forces and their ability to address violations are also priorities.
Part 2: Supporting Top Priorities and Other Aspects of Human Rights and Democratic Governance
The United States encourages respect for constitutional checks and balances by strengthening the legislature, government accountability institutions, and public participation in the policymaking process. U.S. assistance programs provide support to strengthen parliament's oversight committees, assist political parties with internal organization and constituency responsiveness, and bolster links between parliament, local government, and civil society. The United States will help the Uganda Electoral Commission (EC) develop an online searchable Web-based voter registry in advance of the 2011 elections. In addition, the ambassador and other U.S. officials made a number of public statements stressing the importance of good governance, including combating corruption. U.S. officials regularly attended court proceedings on key cases involving constitutional protections, human rights, due process, media freedom, and corruption. Senior U.S. officials, including the President, the Secretary of State, and Members of Congress, expressed concern with the draft “anti-homosexuality” bill which, if passed, would target individuals based on sexual orientation or gender identity and impose penalties of life imprisonment or death, extradition from other countries, and imprisonment for unreported knowledge of suspected relationships.
U.S. public diplomacy efforts include the International Visitor Leadership Program that exposes government officials, parliamentarians, and members of civil society to U.S. democratic institutions and electoral processes. Through digital video conferences, multimedia public outreach activities, and guest speaker programs, the U.S. Government plans to encourage dialogue on issues related to women in politics, press freedom, voter education and participation, journalism training, and the peaceful transition of power.
In the Lord’s Resistance Army-affected north, the U.S. Government is providing transition and development assistance. This assistance targets the 1.8 million persons returning from Internally Displaced Persons camps and seeks to improve the infrastructure, services, and government capacity in conflict-affected northern Uganda. Programs focus on peace building and conflict mitigation, health, education, agriculture productivity, access to water, infrastructure, local government support, and biodiversity and global climate change. The United States sponsored civil-military relations seminars to promote human rights awareness among the security forces and facilitated discussion with civil society leaders.
U.S. Government support advanced the country's efforts to further develop community policing and justice centers, which aim to increase society's confidence in the justice system and increase the capacity of the government to enforce laws and prosecute cases. The U.S. Government funded programs to withdraw children from the most hazardous forms of labor, provide educational alternatives, and strengthen the ability of the government to address child labor.