U.S. Accuses Uganda Of Rights Violations

Rights Violations
Uganda President, Yoweri Museveni

The United States has accused Uganda of persistently violating the rights of its citizens and media in the aftermath of February’s presidential election.

The allegation of rights violations are the latest signs of worsening relations between western powers and Uganda, an ally in the fight against Islamists in the region.

U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby, said in a statement that Uganda’s repeated detention of opposition figures and harassment of their supporters, and the government’s interference in a challenge of the poll results are “unacceptable activities in a free and democratic society”.

“The United States and Uganda have a long standing and strong partnership that has contributed to the stability and prosperity of the region.

“We are concerned that the Ugandan government’s recent actions could endanger the economic and political progress that has enabled our relationship to grow,” the statement said.

Uganda’s electoral commission declared 71-year-old incumbent president, Yoweri Museveni, the winner of the Feb. 18 election with 60% of the vote.

Kizza Besigye, who came in second with 35% and who is currently under house arrest, has rejected the results.

 

Iraq To Intervene In Iran/Saudi Row         

 iraqIraq has sent its foreign minister to Tehran with an offer to mediate in an escalating feud between Saudi Arabia and Iran, reflecting Baghdad’s fears that new sectarian conflict could undo its campaign against Islamic State.

On arrival in Iran, the Iraq Foreign Minister told journalists his country has solid relations with Iran and Saudi Arabia and therefore cannot stay silent in the crisis.

Saudi Arabia’s execution of Shi’ite cleric on Saturday has inflamed sectarian anger across the Middle East, infuriating Iran.

Powerful Iran-backed Shi’ite militia called on Iraqi Prime Minister, Haidar Al-Abadi on Wednesday to shut a Saudi embassy that reopened only last month after decades of strained ties.

Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic ties with Iran on Sunday after protesters hit the Saudi embassy in Tehran.

Both countries are major rivals in the Middle East and back opposing sides in the conflicts in Syria and Yemen.

There has been immediate reaction from Saudi Arabia to the Iraqi mediation offer.

Saudi-Iran Row: Kerry Calls For Calm

saudi-iran conflictUS officials have said that the United States is trying to mend fences between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Secretary of State, John Kerry, has appealed to both sides to remain calm while State Department spokesman, John Kirby, explained that the phone conversations involve foreign ministers of both countries and the Saudi Deputy Crown Prince.

Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic ties with Iran on Sunday after protesters hit the Saudi embassy in Tehran.

Both countries are major rivals in the middle east and back opposing sides in the conflicts in Syria and Yemen.

On Tuesday, Kuwait said it was recalling its ambassador from Tehran, describing the attack on the Saudi Embassy as a “flagrant breach of international norms”.

Saudi allies Bahrain and Sudan broke off diplomatic relations with Iran on Monday and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has also downgraded its diplomatic team in Tehran.

On Monday, the UN Security Council issued a strongly worded statement condemning the attack on the Saudi Embassy – making no mention of the execution of Shia Muslim Cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr and 46 others on terrorism charges.

US Warns Saudi Arabia Over Execution Of Shia Cleric

Shia Cleric, Sheikh Nimr al-NimrThe United States has warned that the execution of prominent Shia cleric, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr by Saudi Arabia could worsen sectarian tensions in the Middle East.

Sheikh Nimr’s execution sparked anger in Shia communities across the region, with protests in Saudi’s Eastern Province as well as in Iran, Bahrain among other countries.

The US State Department urged leaders throughout the region to redouble efforts to lower tensions.

In a statement, US state spokesman, John Kirby, appealed to Saudi Arabia’s government to respect and protect human rights, and to ensure fair and transparent judicial proceedings.

Mr Kirby also urged the Saudi government to permit peaceful expression of dissent along with other leaders in the region, to redouble efforts to reduce regional tensions.

Angry Iranian protesters stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran and set fire to the building in response to the execution.

Sheikh Nimr was one of 47 people executed for terrorism offences.

He was a vocal supporter of mass protests in the Saudi-Arabia’s Shea-majority Eastern Province in 2011.

Saturday’s executions were carried out simultaneously in 12 locations across Saudi Arabia. Of the 47 executed, one was a Chadian national while another was Egyptian. The rest were Saudis.

The international rights group, Amnesty International, said that the 47 executions demonstrated the Saudi authorities’ “utter disregard for human rights and life” and called Sheikh Nimr’s trial “political and grossly unfair”.