Working in partnership to enhance the protection and promotion of human rights in Karamoja

The situation of human rights in Karamoja has greatly improved over the past years. This has been due to partnerships among state and non-state actors, and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) through joint monitoring and advocacy with Uganda Human Rights Commission as well as partnership with human rights defenders in the region.

The partnership has helped to strengthen and advocacy and creating interactions for human rights promoters and defenders in the region.

It has widened the awareness creation in the communities .The local communities are able to understand rights and are able to report and stand witnesses during hearing of cases.

According to Jean Mark Aporu, of the National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders in Karamoja region, who has benefited from himan rights trainings by OHCHR, “Communities now demand for services from the duty bearers for example. Government and Civil Society,”   

The partnership is also enhancing the capacities of the local community based organizations and Civil Society to openly talk on human rights issues in their communities.

It has reduced harassment and intimidation for human rights promoters and built trust and enhanced cooperation between Government actors and civil society.

Many facilities are in place, for example the police administrative infrastructure and detention centres for children in all the seven districts of Karamoja.

Much as the partnership registered success, it still faces challenges. These include limited access to information, low literacy levels, poverty and congested and dirty detention houses.

Other challenges are communities not ever willing to witnesses, lack of follow up of human right cases, mob justice and inability to investigate human rights cases by the Police.

According to Aporu, there is need to improve road infrastructure to the most remote areas where human rights violations are commonly committed.

Other solutions are enhancing trust and encourage information sharing and improve on consistent communication among all actors in the partnership.

Aporu says, looking at the trend of human rights in the past 365 days, in the region, there is great improvement in the promotion and protection of human rights in Karamoja.