For Press Release,
The Ugandan government should engage in consultation with civil society for its Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of human rights that is due to the United Nations later this year, said the Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda).
HRNJ-Uganda is concerned about the government’s delay in setting up a national consultation process with various stakeholders as is required to ensure that the state’s report accurately reflects the human rights situation in Uganda. Although we understand that the NRM government is paying more attention to the February 18 general elections, there is a need to fulfill its obligations as a member state of the United Nations.
The UPR is a mechanism of the United Nations Human Rights Council through which the human rights situation in every country in the UN is reviewed on a four-year basis. Uganda’s review is in November, meaning the state report must be submitted this summer.
HRNJ-Uganda sent a representative to Geneva to attend the 10th session of the UPR and lobby member states to engage with Uganda in its review. HRNJ noted that Uganda faces a number of challenges, including the failure to hold national consultations and the absence of the Ugandan mission during the 10th session to participate in the reviews of other states.
HRNJ-Uganda fears that Uganda’s failure to attend UPR sittings regularly might portray her as a country with less involvement in auditing other countries performance.
“As HRNJ-Uganda we strongly expect recommendations on key human rights issues, especially on the growing levels of impunity, laws that criminalize speech and expression as well as shrinking space for the media and other people with divergent views,” said HRNJ-Uganda Programmes Coordinator Geoffrey Wokulira Ssebaggala, who attended the UPR in Geneva last week.
HRNJ-Uganda team met several countries to urge them to press Uganda on the consultative process and raise issues related to freedom of expression during Uganda’s UPR. These included the United States, Great Britain, and The Netherlands among others from Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia.
It is clear that Uganda lacks the political will to commit money to the UPR process.
We therefore recommend that;
Government should quickly allocate funds for the UPR national consultations and clearly assign it to a specific ministry to ensure implementation.
The foreign affairs ministry should explain the absence of the Uganda mission during the UPR 10th session and more so discipline those responsible.
For More Information Contact;
Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda)
Kivebulaya Road – Mengo Kampala Opp. St. Marcelino Pre. School
P.O.BOX. 71314 Clock Tower Kampala
Tel: +256-414-272934 / +256-414-667627