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confidentially speaking

The Africa Confidential Blog

  • 2nd March 2023

Mali and Uganda push out UN human rights officials

Blue Lines

The expulsion of UN Human Rights Council officials from Mali and Uganda points to a concerted pushback against the agency and allied institutions. On 26 February, Mali's military government gave Guillaume Ngefa-Atondoko Andali, head of the UN peacekeeping mission's human rights division, 48 hours to leave the country, claiming he was biased towards civil society groups. That followed a letter dated 3 February, in which the Ugandan government stated that it would not renew the mandate of the UN human rights office in Uganda. Sources in the Human Rights Council worry that these expulsions could escalate among African states, particularly those which are boosting their relations with Russia and the Kremlin-linked Wagner group.

A UN review last year lambasted President Yoweri Museveni's attacks on the opposition. We hear that Uganda may also have acted because Justice Minister Norbert Mao felt humiliated when faced with protestors during his recent visit to Geneva.

And Ethiopia's government has warned the African Union that it will terminate the mandate of the International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia, a move which could scupper attempts to prosecute war crimes committed during the Tigray war. On 1 March, the Washington Post reported that Eritrean and Ethiopian troops massacred over 300 villagers east of Adwa, days before Addis Ababa signed a peace treaty.