At the just concluded Semi-Annual Performance Review Meeting of the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) held on 4th March 2015 at Piato’s Restaurant in Kampala, the Chairperson of the Uganda Human Rights Commission, Hon. Medi Kaggwa decried the inadequate funding to the Commission. He said this was especially so in the Civic and human rights education and promotion of Human rights.
The meeting, which was held to enable the Commission report its achievements, challenges and map strategies going forward was attended by DGF Board member H.E Donal Cronin, the Irish Ambassador; who was Chief Guest, the Chairperson and the Secretary to the Commission members and staff of the Commission, the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Uganda, representatives from the Justice Law and Order Sector and Development Partners.
In his remarks, the Chairperson expressed his gratitude to the Development Partners for attending the Commissions reviews meetings, whenever called upon, a sign of the great cooperation with the Commission. He revealed that in the reporting period, the right to liberty, torture, and child maintenance respectively, were the most violated.
The Chief Guest, who is a board member of the DGF (one of the donors to the UHRC) congratulated the Commission for the achievements recorded albeit the difficult conditions. He revealed that before he was appointed Ambassador, he had several engagements with the Commission when it was still in its fledgling state and was impressed with by how far the Commission had come. He noted however that human rights violations are still taking place, especially, in the Rwenzori region and West Nile in Moyo that are marred by tribal conflicts. He called for Article 246 of the constitution to be rid of ambiguities, which would resolve the issue of powers of cultural institutions. He further called upon the Commission to look into matters of the rights of domestic workers, the excessive force used by the Kampala Capital City Authorities’ enforcement officers, and to spread human rights education to schools.
Sophie Racine, the Component Manager, Rights Justice and Peace Component in DGF noted the remarkable improvement in reporting by the Commission especially in reporting of results. She commended the Commission for the achievements recorded in the period especially through barazas that have largely improved human rights knowledge. She further urged the Commission to work harder to reduce the backlog of cases at the tribunal as well as improve on the completion rate of investigations of complaints. She reiterated the importance of the Commission to the human rights landscape in Uganda, and reaffirmed the commitment of the development partners in supporting it to fulfill its mandate.
The Regional Human Rights officer of the Central region Mr. Asiimwe Wilfred presented the progress report that captured the results of the commission between July and December 2014, along the thematic areas of civic and human rights education, complaints management, and inspection of places of detention and health facilities. Among the key achievements, the Commission realized reduced incidences of human rights violations reported against the Uganda Police Force in the period of July-December compared to Jan-June 2014. Out of a total of 1,280 files on human rights abuse investigated, 342 files were closed.
On closure, the Chairperson of the Commission thanked the members for attending and making constructive contributions to the meeting, adding that that were invaluable to the Commission and a sign of strengthened collaboration between the Commission and the various stakeholders. He reiterated the commitment of the Commission to execute its mandate for the betterment of the country.