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THE HUMAN RIGHTS CENTRE UGANDA

Defending Human Rights Defenders


Directors

Mr. J.M. Aliro Omara - Chairperson

Director

Mr. Aliro Joel Omara is a founding member and the Chairperson - Board of Director of the Human Rights Centre Uganda. He is also a former Commissioner at the Uganda Human Rights Commission where he served for 12 years. He is currently a member of the Governing Council of the African Peer Review Mechanism as chair of the thematic Area of Human Rights Democracy and Good Governance.

He holds an LLB (Hon) degree from Makerere University and a Diploma in Legal Practice, LDC (Makerere). He has been an advocate of the High Court since 1976, worked as a State Attorney, Magistrate, and Senior Lecturer in Law at Moshi Co-operative College- Tanzania, Member of Parliament and Government Minister of Uganda and he participated in the drawing of a Draft Bill of Rights for the East African Community.
He helped in setting up human rights Commissions in various countries and has undertaken several consultancies in various fields of human rights.

Ms. Margaret Sekaggya - Executive Director

Director

Margaret Sekaggya is a founding member and Executive Director of the Human Rights Centre Uganda. She is also the former UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders and the former Chairperson of the Uganda Human Rights Commission where she served from 1996-2008 (12 years).

She holds an LLB (Hon) degree from Makerere University, Diploma in Legal Practice, LDC (Makerere) and a Master of Laws degree (LLM) from the University of Zambia. She has worked in the Judiciary in Uganda and Zambia and also worked for over seven years with the United Nations Institute for Namibia. She taught law in various institutions including the Law Development Centre, Uganda. She was a Commissioner with the Uganda Interim Electoral Commission, which organised the 1996 elections. She has also assisted in the setting up of other National Human Rights Commissions and was the chairperson of the Commonwealth National Human Rights Institutions and the African National Human Rights Institutions Network.

Ms. Deborah Nsereko - Director

Director

Ms. Deborah Nsereko is a Director of Human Rights Centre Uganda and She is also a consultant with true North Africa since June 2013 and has previously worked as the Commercial Manager of Mantrac Uganda Ltd (formerly Gailey and Roberts); Rhone Pulenc (Avenis) as a Finance and Administrative Manager; Ryce Motors Kenya Ltd as a Chief Accountant; Samvir & Company Certified Public Accountants as an auditor; the Uganda High Commission in Nairobi as an Assistant Accountant; and Lawrie Prophet and Company as an audit trainee.

Ms. Nsereko holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) from Makerere University; a CPA from the Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Kenya; and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Robert R. Kirenga - Director

Director

Mr. Robert Kirenga is one of the Directors of the Human Rights Centre Uganda. He previously worked with the Uganda Human Rights Commission as a Director for Regional Services. He has also worked in Somalia with Progressio (an international organization) as a Capacity Building Advisor on Human rights and Governance. He has also been a part-time lecturer at the Uganda Martyrs University-Rubaga campus teaching International human rights law to post graduate students. He has also worked as an International consultant with OHCHR and UNDP Zimbabwe country Office.

Mr. Kirenga holds an MA in Human Rights-(University of Oslo, Norway), a BA in Political Science and Public Administration (Makerere University) and a Diploma in Law (Law Development Centre) and a Post Graduate Diploma in International Law and Organization Development (Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, Netherlands).

Blog

  • By: sckawooya
    Parliament’s role in promoting Constitutionalism: Constitutionalism is the idea that a government can and should be limited in its powers by a fundamental law or set of laws, beyond the reach of an individual government to amend them; whose authority depends on its observing of these limitations. The Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, 1995 as amended provides for a system of checks and balances amongst the 3 arms of government: Executive, Legislature and Judiciary. These three arms of government are each charged with specific duties. The Executive is charged with the duty to implement and maintain the Constitution and laws made under the Constitution; the Legislature is charged with the duty of formulating laws for the Country, which should be in conformity with the Constitution. Parliament is also charged with the duty to protect the Constitution and promote the democratic governance of Uganda; the Judiciary is the justice dispensing arm of government. Parliament is the legislative, elected body of government tasked with passing laws of Uganda that provide for good governance and playing the oversight role of the other arms of government. Parliament is thus the representation of the people. Parliament is principally charged with 2 roles in promoting constitutionalism. These have been enshrined in the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda; protecting the Constitution and holding the Executive accountable. Protecting the Constitution In order to appreciate this duty imposed on Parliament, Uganda’s history with regard to the constitutions had and the making of the 1995 Constitution should be noted. Benjamin J. Odoki, in his essay, “The Challenges of Constitution-making and Implementation in Uganda” he noted that the making of a new constitution in Uganda demonstrated the desire of the people to fundamentally change their system of governance into a truly democratic one. Further that the process was thus a major step towards the democratization of the country which had experienced nearly thirty years of oppression, tyranny and exploitation. The history of Uganda’s constitutionalism road is that up until 1995, Uganda had had 3 constitutions namely: 1962, 1966 and 1967 Constitutions. It should be noted that in making of these constitutions, massive consultations of the citizens was not done by the responsible authorities. They had simply been enacted, and handed down to be implemented. It could thus be argued that the views of the people had not been reflected in the Constitutions. Thus, in 1988, the Uganda Constitution Commission was established and it spearheaded the task of making the Constitution that was promulgated in 1995 by the Constituent assembly. The making of the Constitution was distinctly characterized by popular participation by the people which was achieved through wide consultation and national public debate. The Constitution under Article 79 lays down the functions of Parliament which are to make laws and protect the constitution and promote democratic governance of Uganda. The duty of protecting the constitution would among others include preserving the spirit of the constitution that way it is not amended or altered veering off the purpose of the people. Since 1995, the constitution has been amended a number of times; including September and December 2005. The amendments have among others been for the creation of new districts, new offices, creation of special courts to handle offences relating to corruption, remove the limits on the tenure of office of the President. The role of parliament in protecting the constitution must be to vote either for or against an amendment of the constitution whilst being mindful of the Uganda’s history. Parliament should also be mindful of the fact that the constitution that was promulgated in 1995 was one that reflected the views of the people who had lived through the oppression and tyranny that characterizes our past as a nation. Parliament is further urged to not only look at the present and past but also the future. Ideally, the test should be that if an amendment years down the road can easily lead to oppression or tyranny stands to be exploited to the detriment of Uganda and her citizens, that amendment should not be allowed. As earlier noted, Constitutionalism is about ensuring that governance is done in accordance with the law and not the whim of the government of the day. Similarly, the constitution should not be easily and frequently amended to suit the needs of the government of the day. And this is what in principle the duty of protecting the constitution is all about. Holding the Executive accountable As noted earlier, each arm of government has certain controls over the other 2 arms. For Parliament, it principally has the duty of holding the Executive or the state accountable for all decisions that it makes as well as its actions. This is provided for under the national objective I which makes it clear that the President has to report to Parliament and the nation all steps taken to ensure the realization of the national objectives and directive principles of state policy. The goal of holding the Executive accountable is such that there is difficulty in the State abusing the power that it is given by law. Parliament, in fulfilling this duty has held weekly plenary sessions in which the Prime Minister is tasked to explain state actions of lack thereof on issues, and through the parliamentary committee sessions, has held the state accountable. The expectation for the 10th Parliament is that it does not take the trend of the 9th Parliament, which during its first year was seen to be assertive and its actions promoting constitutionalism and over the course of time became less active with the fire unfortunately dying out. Members of Parliament should at all times be mindful of Parliament’s role in promoting constitutionalism and in all decisions have them at the forefront as they are the key in protecting Uganda from ever experiencing the past that we have worked so hard to distance ourselves from.

  • By: jose
    UN expert hails role of equality bodies and action plans in combating racism: NEW YORK / GENEVA (2 November 2016) – States should maximize the use of specialized equality bodies and national action plans to tackle racism and xenophobia, a United Nations human rights expert has said. Using these tools was key to identifying the causes and shaping new policies, said the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, Mutuma Ruteere. “National specialized bodies and national action plans address the root causes of discrimination in areas such as employment, housing, education, the justice system, law enforcement and access to different goods and services,” Mr. Ruteree said, presenting a report* to the UN General Assembly. “They also drive change in State and private organizations Read the Special Rapporteur’s report: http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/71/325

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