‘When Violations Change Face, we have to Change Tactics…’ HRCU launches Report on Critical Human Rights Challenges

Published By UNNGOF |  November 6, 2016

On Wednesday 21st October 2015, the Human Rights Center Uganda launched a report, ‘The Ten Critical Human Rights Challenges’, for the priority attention of the Parliament of Uganda, especially in light of the upcoming general elections.

Ms Margaret Sekaggya, Executive Director HRCU, told guests at the launch that the intention was for citizens to hold their leaders accountable. She explained that the critical challenges were derived from numerous interviews held with citizens on their perceptions of what they thought were priority concerns. With general elections near, a number of Human Rights abuses will become apparent and we need to work towards influencing people through media and civic education to vote for leaders that will make a difference. Ms Sekaggya called for sensitization of citizens on human rights, not only during elections and violent times but at all times. She expressed hope that the 10th Parliament would prioritize the ten critical issues that were being presented as a checklist in human rights defense. She called upon the public to use the same report to hold their leaders accountable and prevail upon them to pass laws that protect human rights.

The guest of Honor, Dr Kisamba Mugerwa conceded that it was the state’s obligation to promote human rights and urged that as individuals, everyone has a responsibility to end some of these human rights violations. Dr Mugerwa noted that human rights have been violated on several occasions because authorities do not follow the law- in this case institutions and individuals are to blame in letting it continue.

The ten critical challenges as presented by the HR consultant, Ms Roselyn Karugongo were, in order of priority: Lack of respect for the rule of law; Insufficient attention to economic, social and cultural rights (ESCR); Violation of fundamental freedoms of opinion, expression, assembly and association; Rampant corruption; Rising unemployment rate; Torture, inhuman and degrading treatment; Widespread sexual and gender based violence; Inadequate civic education; Rampant Human trafficking; The narrowing space for civil society work.

The proposed priority actions for the key challenges include: strengthen adherence to rule of law; address the observance of ESCR; promote respect and enjoyment of specific freedoms; proactively tackle corruption in Uganda; pursue policies to reduce the unemployment; promote elimination of torture, inhuman and degrading treatment; bolster initiatives to eliminate sexual and gender based violence; promote initiatives that increase civic education among the masses; step up efforts to eliminate human trafficking; and work towards improving the working environment for civil society.

The launch of this report also marked the start of a country wide campaign to sensitize the masses on their human rights as well as on the findings of the report.