WASHINGTON – In response to Uganda’s detention of four human rights defenders, including attorney Nicholas Opiyo, the Center for Constitutional Rights issued the following statement:
Our colleague and partner Nicholas Opiyo has taken on some of the most political and principled cases in Uganda, tirelessly fighting for the rights and dignity of targeted activists. Given his work on some of Uganda’s most politically challenging issues this kind of backlash is not unexpected. It takes place on the eve of Uganda’s January 2021 election, when communities are witnessing an alarming rise in attacks, killings, and detentions of activists. Opiyo’s supporters in Uganda report that he has been actively investigating a series of murders in mid-November by Ugandan security forces and is readying a challenge to the government’s decision to pressure Google and Facebook to take down web pages of political opposition figures and human rights activists. The detention of Opiyo is undoubtedly retaliation for his advocacy to protect human rights and democracy in Uganda, including his fearless defense of LGBTQIA+ people. We join calls from human rights defenders and partners around the world in demanding the immediate, unconditional release of Opiyo. We encourage all who, like Opiyo, are committed to principles of freedom, justice, and human rights to fight to #FreeNicholasOpiyo.