The Humanitarian Hypocrisy of US Counterterrorism Policies in Uganda

The main analysis section of this paper provides examples of two humanitarian crises, the War in Northern Uganda and the abuse of the political opposition, and illustrates how the US is responsible for such humanitarian violations via two mechanisms: contributing directly to the abuses by supporting the Ugandan military which carries/allows them to be carried out, and accepting such abuses either as a result of the Ugandan government’s use of anti-terrorism rhetoric to justify them or simply in order to maintain the counterterrorism partnership, thereby allowing such abuses to continue. Within this main analysis section, quotes from US officials and agencies are provided to highlight the hypocrisy of US humanitarian goals given its counterterrorism policies, with the exemplified crises and mechanisms evoking America’s culpability. Following the main analysis section, the latest US actions to address human rights issues are considered, raising the possibility that the two-decades long hypocritical policies might come to an end under the newly inaugurated Biden administration. However, the final section concludes that while progress is possible, the past twenty years of the US-Uganda counterterrorism partnership have not only undermined human rights and the humanitarian agenda purportedly championed by the US government, but that the counterterrorism partnership has ended up supporting state-sponsored domestic terrorism as well. 

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