POMA and PPTA Community Dialogue in Gulu

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HRCU together with other partners have organized a press conference in a bid to support and provide visibility to the contributions of the different HRDs under the CAT who promote the freedom from torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in Uganda.

ACP Kusemererwa James, Head of department of Human Rights said, “Torture shouldn’t be limited to security agencies alone, torture also happens in the domestic spaces and this kind of violence should be condemned”

ACP Kusemererwa James, said the Uganda Police launched it’s human rights policy this year and the PPTA Regulations in operation, the biggest task is to sensitize the law enforcement agencies on the law.

Nuremberg Conference

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The International Nuremberg Principles Academy organized a two-day international conference in Nuremberg, Germany, on 3-4 May 2019 dedicated to the advancement of the synergies between international criminal law (ICL) and the United Nations Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development (UN Agenda 2030). The Human Rights Centre Uganda was represented at this conference by Mr. Mugisa Robert.

Due to the nexus of the objectives of ICL and the human rights movement, the conference identified the elements of ICL that would be able to contribute to the advancement of the UN Agenda 2030 from three angles: Access to Justice, Access to Remedy and the Role of Human Rights Defenders.

World Press Freedom Day

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Stand with Human Rights Defenders in the media fraternity on World Press freedom Day, 3rd May 2019

The 3rd May 2019 marks the 26th celebration of World Press Freedom Day. This year’s theme is: Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation. This day is jointly organized by UNESCO, the African Union Commission and the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. The main event took place in Addis Ababa, on 1-3 May at the African Union Headquarters.

The purpose of this day is to defend the media from attacks on their independence, pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty, assess the state of press freedom throughout the world and celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom.

The number of events being held in Addis Ababa and internationally, under the 2019 theme, will address key priorities for the World and for Africa. Some of these key priorities include; how the digital era is affecting electoral communications; medias role in democracy through discrediting professional journalism, and disrupting internet access; and media’s potential to contribute to a culture of sustainable peace and democracy. Uganda has seen a high rate of growth of a dynamic and vibrant media industry covering different interests and views, journalists play a key role in the protection and promotion of human rights in Uganda by exposing human rights violations such as the violation of the right to life attributed to mob justice, human sacrifice as well as the right to property with the main focus on land issues. Yet journalists in Uganda have faced some challenges as they exercise their right to seek receive and impart information including reports of some journalists being subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment; arbitrary deprivation of poverty and unlawful arrests sometimes including instances of charges under laws that courts have declared to be inconsistent with the Constitution. There have also been reports of journalists being denied access to news scenes and their equipment being confiscated, damaged or destroyed, as well as operating under poor working conditions with no safety and protection gear. There is also the growing problem of low professionalism among journalists, which has in some cases led to irresponsible, inaccurate and unbalanced media reports that have had the potential to excite and inflame rather than inform. A 2016 report by HRNJ-Uganda, it was noted that Journalists experienced 135 human rights violations and the police was the main violator of their rights. The Human Rights Centre Uganda(HRCU) recognizes that journalists are Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) that require protection and promotion of their rights. HRCU has collaborated with Journalists all over Uganda and ensure that they are invited to speak on panels at our Annual Forum to raise awareness of their suffering and violations of their rights.

On Thursday 2nd of May, there was a Media Dialogue to celebrate World Press Freedom Day at Hotel Africana. MadamThe Executive Director of HRCU Mdse Margaret Sekaggya, the Executive Director of HRCU was in attendance and gave a speech highlighting the importance of professionalism amongst Journalists in Uganda. On Friday 3rd May, there was a March in celebration of World Press Freedom Day.

Recommendations to the Government and its agencies;

1. Uphold its duty to respect, protect and fulfil the enjoyment of the right to freedom of expression

2. Implement recommendations it adopted during Uganda’s Universal Periodic Review in Geneva in 2011.

3. Consider a visit to Uganda by the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression as a sign of our country’s commitment to promoting this right.

4. Review all media laws to assess their compliance with international human rights standards in order to implement law reforms that would improve the media regulatory environment and to expedite the process of erasing from the law books, all press laws that have been nullified by the Courts of Law.

Recommendations to Civil Society;

1. Advocate for the rights of Journalists and raise awareness about the human rights violations that they face.

2. Call out and speak out against the violators of Journalists rights.

3. Capacity build journalists about professionalism within their occupation.

4. Insist that media houses provide the safety measures required for the unique work that journalists do.

Recommendations to Development Partners;

1. Provide funds for trainings on security and safety of Journalists.

2. Provide funds for the resources needed to ensure security and safety of Journalists.

3. Monitor and evaluate the use of these resources and safety skills within the media houses in Uganda.

Uganda's Human Rights defender, William Amanzuru, wins EU HRDs award 2019

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William Amanzuru an environmental rights defender from Adjumani has been named as the winner of the EU Human Rights Defenders’ Award 2019 on the 6th May 2019 at the residence of the Norwegian Ambassador in Kampala, is given annually by the European Union and Norway to recognise an outstanding contribution by a human rights defender in Uganda.

William Amanzuru was chosen as the winner because of his courageous defence of environmental rights in his local area, including speaking out against destruction of the Zoka Forest, the only natural rainforest in Adjumani District in North West Uganda.

Zoka Forest has been targeted by illegal logging, which reduces biodiversity and increases the chances of landslides, making it harder for local communities to farm and sustain their livelihoods.

Because of his work to expose the powerful individuals behind the illicit activities, Amanzuru has faced threats, surveillance and intimidation. His family have also been targeted as a consequence of his activism.

HRDs Report 2018

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The Human Rights Centre Uganda has launch the 2017/2018 situation report on the working environment of HRDs. The report shows a number of issues that affect human rights defenders and the government has taken no positive action in resolving them. See the full report under publications.

Women's Day

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“Empowering Women Human Rights Defenders for Sustainable Development,”

HRCU recognizes the importance of providing social protection to women with the aim of minimizing their vulnerability, building their potential through innovative approaches so that they can contribute effectively to the country’s development process. Encouragement is given to women human rights defenders to continue mobilizing women and key stakeholders to ensure that they understand their rights and responsibilities and ensure that they identify the issues that affect them and hold the different stakeholders accountable on their roles and responsibilities in respecting, promoting and fulfilling human rights.

The Human Rights Centre Uganda on this important day for women calls upon government to support women human rights defenders. This is a great day and important time in the history to do everything possible to help forge a more gender-balanced world. Women have come a long way, yet there's still more to be achieved.

Happy Women’s Day 2019