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Country Watch

Ugandan police dictatorial powers to decide who can stage a protest. Police now have the power to criminalize spontaneous peaceful protests of even three people. Independent politician Moses Kasibante has vowed to challenge the law in the constitutional court.

On August 9, 2013, Maina Kiai, the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, declared several provisions of the bill to be in violation of individu- als’ rights to public assembly. He stated that “[r] equiring prior authorization from the authorities to hold an assembly may result in an effective ban on certain gatherings, which violates Uganda’s international obligations” and that “the require- ment to list the names of all participants serves only to frighten people from expressing their right to peaceful assembly.”


Margaret Sekaggya, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, asserted that “police intimidation has no place in a free, open and democratic society.” She noted, “The Law fails to limit firearm use; it must ensure they can only be used after exhausting all other pos- sible means, in compliance with the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials.”

Frank La Rue, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression, warned that “the requirement for public statements not to contravene any laws is excessively vague. In fact, it may be used as a tool for censoring all sort of critical statements, undermining a crucial guar- antee for democratic governance.”

Increasing threats faced by anti-corruption groups expose the need for the government to repeal the Bill on grounds of incompatibility with internation- ally-recognized human rights and to redraft the bill in a manner that complies with the country’s international human rights obligations. The three UN Special Rapporteurs have all maintained that the bill must be revoked unless it is amended to

comply with Uganda’s international legal obliga- tions.

*Submitted by Pinky Mehta

Dispute Between Spain and Britain Continues Over Developments in Gibraltar

Gibraltar is commonly referred to as the “Rock,” not only for its only landmark, but also because it symbolizes “British imperial resilience captured by the phrase ‘as solid as a rock.’” According to an August 2013 report from Reuters, Spain is study- ing retaliatory measures against the British ter- ritory of Gibraltar in an escalating situation over Gibraltar’s actions near fishing grounds in a dis- puted area that was being used by Spanish fish- ing boats. This appears to be a modern day con- tinuation of the three-century dispute between Spain and Britain.


Gibraltar has a population of about 30,000 and is connected to the Iberian Peninsula by a nar- row, low-lying isthmus. The Strait of Gibraltar is the “only natural entrance to the semi-enclosed Mediterranean Sea.” Gibraltar’s economy is “dominated by off-shore banking, internet gam- bling operations, and tourism.” While technically a British colony, it is debatable whether it is truly colonized in the traditional sense of the word. Gi- braltar has its “own language called yanito, which is a mix of English and Spanish, politics, and type of nationalism.”

The dispute over Gibraltar between Spain and Britain commenced during the War of the Span- ish Succession, when Gibraltar was “seized in 1704 by Anglo-Dutch forces from Spain and then transferred to Britain under the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht.” In 1908, British military authorities con- structed “the fence on neutral ground,” creating an actual border between Spain and Gibraltar.

Miguel Primo de Rivera (1870-1930), Spain’s dicta- ILSA Quarterly » volume 22 » issue 1 » October 2013

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