Past event

Research Event

Civil Liberties in Uganda: Rights and Responsibilities

Chatham House, London

Africa Programme


Nicholas Opiyo, Executive Director, Chapter Four Uganda
Maria Burnett, Associate Director, East Africa, Human Rights Watch
Chair: Russell Pickard, Deputy Director, Africa Regional Office, Open Society Foundations


Uganda’s significant economic and human potential is well-documented, but while efforts to effectively harness the opportunities presented by its youthful population and its resource wealth progress, questions remain over the country’s shrinking democratic space. This constriction is indicated by recent proposals of legislation that impinge on internationally recognized rights of freedom of assembly and of expression, such as the anti-homosexuality act that was drafted in 2013 and the public order management act passed in the same year, both of which receive significant attention from Ugandan civil society.

At this event, Nick Opiyo, the 2015 recipient of the Human Rights Watch Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism, and Maria Burnett will reflect on human and democratic rights in Uganda and will discuss how regional and political dynamics influence the space devoted to domestic civil liberties.