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CSO’s Sue Uganda, Rwanda over Gatuna Border Closure :: Uganda Radionetwork

CSO’s Sue Uganda, Rwanda over Gatuna Border Closure

According to the CSO's the closure of Rwanda border at Gatuna border contravene the East African Community and common market protocol that calls for free movement of people, goods and services among member states.

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The Eastern African Sub-Regional Support Initiative for the Advancement of Women (EASSI) and the Southern and Eastern Africa Trade Information and Negotiations Institute ( SEATINI) are suing the governments of Uganda and Rwanda for causing poverty among its citizens by closing the borders.

The CSOs want the East African Court of Justice to pronounce itself on the continued impunity and arbitrary border closure. They are also asking that such impunity must not be allowed to happen anywhere else in the region.

According to the CSO's, the closure of the Rwanda border at Gatuna contravene the East African Community and Common Market Protocol that calls for free movement of people, goods and services among member states. 

While addressing journalists today, the Executive Director of EASSI, Sheila Kawamara Mishambi said that they had served the Attorney Generals for both countries on June 24, 2019.

Rwanda closed its borders on February 27, 2019, to allegedly expedite construction works on the Rwanda side of the Gatuna border. The closure preceded travel advisories issued by Rwanda stopping its citizens against travelling to Uganda claiming that Ugandan authorities are abducting, jailing and torturing Rwandans.

Kawamara says they have filed a public interest case after receiving over 400 statements from the affected citizens from both countries. She says the closure of the border is hurting citizens.

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Jane Nalunga, the executive director of SEATINI  says that something needs to be done to address the plight of women in both countries who depend on trade at the borders to earn a living. 

She says women, who are recognized in the regional treaty by the partner states as a vital economic link between agriculture, industry, and trade, are now being plunged into absolute poverty due to the actions of both government's.

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In April 2019, Ugandan lawyer Steven Kalali also sued the government of Rwanda over the closure of the Gatuna border. His case was filed before the East African Court of Justice.

In response to the suit, Rwanda's Senior State Attorney, Nichola Ntarugera in an affidavit said that the border was closed to offer protection to Rwandans and also to enable the quick completion of a one-stop border post.

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