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THE HUMAN RIGHTS CENTRE UGANDA

Defending Human Rights Defenders


The 5th Human Rights Defenders Annual Report

HRC Defenders Uganda

 

On 22nd March 2017, The Human Rights Centre Uganda (HRCU) held its 5th    Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) Annual Forum under the theme;  “Harnessing Grassroots and National Strength: Empowering Human Rights Defenders for Better Human Rights Protection and Advocacy in Uganda”. The theme focused on strengthening cooperation and building synergy amongst human rights defenders at national, district and grassroots levels. The Forum as a platform enabled the human rights defenders assess their working environment and identified critical barriers, shared best practices, established effective strategies to address the current critical barriers. It was also an opportunity to engage with various stakeholders who made recommendations for improving their working environment. The Forum among other current issues discussed the future of HRDs and the laws affecting them, the engagement and relevance of the national, regional and international human rights mechanisms and how HRDs are positioning themselves to implement the National Development Plan (NDP) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The overall objective of this forum was to enhance cooperation amongst HRDs and establish effective strategies in addressing the current issues embedded in the working environment of HRDs in Uganda.





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HRDs' Report 2016

HRC Defenders Uganda

 

This report provides an analysis of the operating environment
as well as perspectives of HRDs on the extent to which their rights are
promoted and protected. The report also provides perspectives on the
effectiveness of HRD work in Uganda and provides recommendations on how to
strengthen it.


This report also noted the increasing number of petitions filed by
HRDs, which was an indicator of the growing level of confidence that defenders
have in the justice system as an alternative avenue for redress. In particular,
2016 saw the first ever ruling pertinent to LGBTI rights at the sub-regional
level through the East African Court of Justice. This potentially provided
opportunities for defenders to pursue justice not just at domestic level but
also at such alternative fora. 

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Human Rights Defenders Report 2016

HRC Defenders Uganda

 

This report provides an analysis of the operating environment as well as perspectives of HRDs on the extent to which their rights are promoted and protected. The report also provides perspectives on the effectiveness of HRD work in Uganda and provides recommendations on how to strengthen it.

This report also noted the increasing number of petitions filed by HRDs, which was an indicator of the growing level of confidence that defenders have in the justice system as an alternative avenue for redress. In particular, 2016 saw the first ever ruling pertinent to LGBTI rights at the sub-regional level through the East African Court of Justice. This potentially provided opportunities for defenders to pursue justice not just at domestic level but also at such alternative fora. 





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HRDs Report 2014

HRC Defenders Uganda

 

The year 2014 saw a remarkable improvement in the use of advocacy platforms by HRDs as they challenged the Public Order Management Act 2013 (POMA), Anti Homosexuality Act 2014 (AHA) and the Anti-Pornography Act 2014 (APA), the laws that HRDs felt restricted of freedom of expression and association1 as well as the violation of human rights. In 2014, HRDs filed petitions in the Constitutional Court to challenge the APA and AHA at the national level; while at the regional level a petition was filed at the East African Court of Justice to challenge AHA.





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Human Rights Defenders Report 2013

HRC Defenders Uganda

 

This report presents a situational analysis of the working environment of human rights defenders (HRDs) in Uganda in 2013. The report analyses their challenges and opportunities, as well as best practices and makes recommendations to different stakeholders on improving the human rights promotion and protection in Uganda. It captures the trends in the environment in which HRDs operate in Uganda and makes proposals on how it can be improved. It builds on previous studies that have analysed the situation of HRDs.

In Uganda, HRDs face recurrent challenges similar to those in other parts of the world. These include restrictions on fundamental freedoms and human rights, financial constraints, a population that lacks human rights awareness and limited cooperation amongst HRDs. These challenges are perpetuated by both state and non-state actors. It is encouraging to know that despite the challenges, many HRDs are dedicated to promoting and protecting human rights and their efforts are invaluable.

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Human Rights Defenders in Uganda

HRC Defenders Uganda

 

An overview of the working environment for Human Rights Defenders in Uganda.
The defence of human rights is steadily gaining prominence in Uganda. There is also the growing realisation that in the course of defending human rights, many rights have been violeted and this has in many instances gone unnoticed. Concern about the challenges faced by Non-Governmental Organisations, individuals and other organisations involved in the defence of human rights has been one of the major reasons for publishing this report

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Human Rights Defenders in Uganda 2012: The Quest for a Better Working Environment

HRC Defenders Uganda

 

Human rights defenders in Uganda and throughout the world are presented with challenges, both recurrent and emerging new challenges that crop up every year. The challenges include violations of the rights of human rights defenders by state and non-state actors, and financial constraints which severely limit their capacity to undertake effectively the function of defending human rights. Many work conscious of the risk of imprisonment, harassment, physical violence and economic or social marginalization. It is however encouraging and commendable that despite the challenges, many human rights defenders in Uganda have remained dedicated to their work. For that we must continue to encourage and work in solidarity with all human rights defenders as we applaud them for their courageous hard work. Human rights defending are not a walk in the park as often there can be backlash against their work especially where reactionary forces feel that they have a lot to lose from the enforcement of human rights. Everyone engaged in this work should therefore be encouraged and supported.

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Human Rights Defenders in Uganda 2010 - 2011: A Situational Analysis of their Rights and Challenges

HRC Defenders Uganda

 

This report presents a general overview of the situation of Human Rights Defenders working on civil and political rights in Uganda for the period June 2010 to December 2011. The principal objective of the report was to analyse the environment in which defenders of civil and political rights operated in that period. The analysis also covered how the different categories of defenders related with each other and with the government as well as its policies at national and local levels. The report further identified the sources of threats and obstacles against human rights defenders, the operational challenges faced, the utilisation of available protective mechanisms for defenders, best practices and recommendations.

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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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