Statement of Support for Nicholas Opiyo, Executive Director of Chapter Four Uganda

The International Center for Not-for-profit Law (ICNL) remains deeply concerned about the continued detention of Nicholas Opiyo, the executive director of Chapter Four Uganda, on allegations of money laundering. ICNL notes that the (mis)use of anti-money laundering standards to clamp down on human rights defenders is a trend that is becoming more frequent in several countries. Nicholas Opiyo and Chapter Four Uganda are long-standing, valued, and deeply respected partners of ICNL. Under Mr. Opiyo’s leadership, Chapter Four Uganda not only provides essential legal support services to civil society and to some of the most marginalized and at-risk groups throughout Uganda, but also has led efforts to constructively engage state institutions to promote a more enabling legal environment for civil society and human rights defenders. These leadership qualities and the respect in which Nicholas Opiyo is held extend to the continental and global human rights community. We urge the authorities to reconsider this action and, in the interim, to guarantee Mr. Opiyo’s rights to due process and fair trial. In light of the continuing Covid-19 pandemic, we also urge the authorities to guarantee his health and safety while in detention.