Kampala, 10th/12/2018; As Uganda joins the rest of the world to Commemorate the International Human Rights Day, Unwanted Witness is deeply concerned about Government of Uganda’s constant expansion of mass surveillance practices disregarding the vice’s chilling effect on human rights as enshrined in national, regional and International human rights laws.
Unwanted witness has documented growing trends of unregulated surveillance in Uganda including the use of facial recognition technology and communication surveillance, which have great potential to contribute to or facilitate serious human rights abuses, such as interference with personal privacy, association, unlawful arrests or detention and curtailing freedom of expression among others.
“These rights are cornerstones of democracy. Their infringement without adequate judicial oversight jeopardizes the rule of law in Uganda,” said Dorothy Mukasa, the Chief Executive Officer, the Unwanted Witness Uganda.
She noted that there is compelling evidence that government agencies particularly the security organs have gained access to citizens’ personal data on a massive scale with little or no judicial control.
This is contrary to the United Nations Human Rights Council’s resolution 68/167 mandating states like Uganda to review their procedures, practices and legislation related to communication surveillance, interception and collection of personal data and ensure the full and effective implementation of their obligations under international human rights law.
Unwanted Witness thus urges government to institute measures for effective, independent and impartial oversight for human rights protection.
Meanwhile Unwanted Witness applauds the parliament of Uganda for the passage of Data Protection and Privacy Bill, 2015 which is currently awaiting to be ascended to by the president.
Every 10th December is commemorated as International Human Rights Day and the theme this year is “Stand Up For Human Rights.”