Kampala, 22nd/June/2011; Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) welcomes the government’s initiative to hold a national validation meeting ahead of its review in October 2011.
The Universal Periodic Review Mechanism established in 2006 by the United Nations General Assembly, is a new and unique human rights mechanism of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council aiming at improving the human rights situations on the ground of each of the 192 member states.
Uganda’s review comes at a time when a number of instruments have been ratified since 1980 namely; the charter of the United Nations, International Conventions on Elimination of Discrimination, Convention Against Torture, Convention on Economic Social and Cultural rights, Convention on the Rights of Children, Convention on Migrants Workers, Convention on People with Disabilities, Convention on Children in Armed Conflict, Convention against Chemical Weapons, The Ottawa Treaty on Anti Personnel Mines and the Rome Statute that establishing the International Criminal Court among others at regional and continent levels.
The validation meeting held on 20th/June/2011 at the Foreign Affairs Ministry headquarters in Kampala was attended by political parties, Religious groups, private sector and Civil Society organization.
Although representatives did not get access to the draft state report, the meeting discussed human rights issues and concerns in the country. The issues that came up included; freedom of expression, corruption, violations committed during the ‘Walk to Work” campaign, the right to education, right to health, torture, landlessness and unlawful evictions and LGBTI among others.
The national validation meeting came after consultative meetings in different parts of the country namely; Mbale in Eastern Uganda, Gulu in the Northern and Mbarara in Western Uganda.
The consultations followed the formation of a 25 member inter-ministerial committee in March this year chaired by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
According to the chairman of the consultative process on UPR, Ambassador David Etuket, a draft report would be ready by the close of business this week and submitted to the cabinet for approval.
“We expect to come up with the draft report at the end of the meeting, forward it to cabinet and be discussed on 29th/June/2011 before submitting it to the United Human Rights Council by 4th/July/2011.” said Ambassador Etuket.
He added that, “the process is expected to generate a genuine and credible report that may be used to defend the country or inform the world about the progress in the realm of human rights and even highlight challenges for which we need support from the international community.”
Uganda is faced with a challenge of failing to report to treaty bodies as required by conventions, lack of political will to support the reporting process due to negative perception and failure to commit resources to facilitate such processes.
“We commend the government for the processes undertaken to produce a state report and we would like government to have the same spirit after the adoption of recommendations come March 2012. One of the concerns is however the composition of the UPR committee which is government based. However, we would like to see in future other players brought on board like CSOs, political parties and Private sector among others if we are to improve human rights situation in Uganda” said Programmes Coordinator HRNJ-Uganda Geoffrey Wokulira Ssebaggala
He appealed to the government to make the state report available to all Ugandans before the review.
Three UN member states (members of the Troika) have already been named to review Uganda come October 12th. The countries include; Uruguay, Nigeria and Maldives.
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