More effort needed to promote human rights
The human rights cause in Uganda has taken both upward and downward trends. The upward trend is owed to the fact that Uganda has made tremendous progress in human rights structural development.
The government was been lauded the enactment of the 1995 Constitution, whose provisions lay a good platform for the protection and promoting of human rights. There has also been commendation to the government for establishing the Uganda Human Rights Commission, the Inspector General of Government, and structures that provide a good platform for upholding human rights in the country.
According to Mr. Muhammed Ndifuna, the chief executive officer of Human Rights Network Uganda, the passing of laws, for example, the Access to Information Act, is also worth noting because it has enabled the public to access information.
“The establishment of the human rights department in the police is also astride the human rights cause in the country has registered,” he adds. The establishment of organs and laws in support of human rights has helped to establish a normative framework that enables people to promote, protect and defend human rights.
Mr. Ndifuna, however, says the human rights cause has a long way to go because the various structures and agencies established by the government to protect, promote and defend human rights have come under denigration.
“Many of them are undercut, not well facilitated, or are interfered with. There have also been several incidences of dishonoring some articles of the constitution,” he says.
He says some progressive laws have been systematically violated, taking the country back to where it came from in terms of the human rights violation. Human rights can only be protected in a situation where the rule of law is manifested; one of the cardinal principles is the separation of power.
Mr. Ndifuna says sometimes there is the intrusion of the executive in the judiciary and legislature undermining the protection of human rights. Although human rights defenders have faced many challenges including harassment, some achievements have been registered.
According to Mr. Ndifuna, human rights defenders have managed to monitor and document human rights violations and abuse in the country.
Mr Ndifuna says human rights defenders are also supporting the state to measure up to its obligation under international treaties. Civil society organizations work with government agencies and ministries to ensure that Uganda meets the requirements of the international human rights treaties.
Role of Parliament
The Parliament of Uganda has been instrumental in promoting human rights. Ms Monicah Amoding, the Female Youth representative, says Parliament managed to establish the human rights committee that was not existing. She says the human rights committee of Parliament has worked closely with other stakeholders to monitor policies, bills and laws concerning human rights.